Sara Wylie


Associate Professor

Public Health and Health Sciences

Research Interests

Community-based participatory research, engaged STS, fracking, environmental public health, citizen science

Alternative Media Tools for Studying the Oil and Gas Industry:

Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science

Low Cost Hydrogen Sulfide Sensing

Low Cost Thermal Imaging


Sara Wylie is an Assistant Professor at Northeastern University with a joint appointment in Sociology/Anthropology and Health Sciences, where she is a member of the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute.  Wylie seeks to develop new modes of studying and intervening in large-scale environmental health issues through a fusion of social scientific, scientific and art/design practices, and is engaged in developing open-source research projects on low cost thermal imaging, low cost imaging of water pollution, community-based methods for detection of hydrogen sulfide among other civic science projects. Her book, Fractivism: Corporate Bodies and Chemical Bonds published by Duke University Pressis an ethnographic study of the role science based NGOs played in the emergence of public concerns about the human and environmental health impacts of chemicals used in natural gas extraction, particularly hydraulic fracturing.

Recently Wylie cofounded the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI). EDGI is a collaboration of academics and non-profits working to track and respond to changes in U.S. federal environmental governance. Wylie has co-edited with Rebecca Lave EDGI’s 100 Days and Counting series of rapid response, public reports detailing and contextualizing changes in environmental governance under the Trump Administration.

Sara Wylie is a cofounder of Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science, a non-profit that develops open source, Do It Yourself tools for community based environmental analysis. She received her Ph.D. from MIT’s History, Anthropology and Science, Technology and Society (HASTS) Program.

Wylie is also a JBP Environmental Health Fellow with Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health. In 2017 she was recognized by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) as one of 20 Pioneers in Environmental Health under 40. Her CHE webinar summarizes her book, work with Public Lab and EDGI.


Dillon Lindsey, Walker Dawn, Shapiro Nicholas, Underhill Vivian, Martenyi Megan, Wylie Sara, Lave Rebecca, Murphy Michelle, Brown Phil, and Environmental Data and Governance Initiative. 2017. “Environmental Data Justice and the Trump Administration: Reflections from the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative”. Environmental Justice. December, 10(6): 186-192.

Wylie, Sara, Shapiro, Nick, & Liboiron, Max. (2017). Making and Doing Politics Through Grassroots Scientific Research on the Energy and Petrochemical Industries. Engaging Science, Technology, and Society, 3, 393-425. doi:

Wylie, S., Wilder, Elisabeth.*, Vera, Lourdes.*, Thomas, Deborah., & McLaughlin, Megan. (2017). Materializing Exposure: Developing an Indexical Method to Visualize Health Hazards Related to Fossil Fuel Extraction. Engaging Science, Technology, and Society, 3, 426-463. doi:

Matz, J.*, Wylie, S., & Kriesky, J. (2017). Participatory Air Monitoring in the Midst of Uncertainty: Residents’ Experiences with the Speck Sensor. Engaging Science, Technology, and Society, 3, 464-498. doi:

Sofia Eleni Spatharioti*, Rebecca Govoni, Jennifer S. Carrera, Sara Wylie and Seth Cooper. 2017. A Required Work Payment Scheme for Crowdsourced Disaster Response: Worker Performance and Motivations, In: Proceedings of the ISCRAM 2017 Conference, Albi, France

Wylie, Sara, Kim Schultz, Deborah Thomas, Chris Kassotis and Susan Nagel. 2016. “Inspiring Collaboration: The Legacy of Theo Colborn’s Trans-disciplinary Research on Fracking.” NEW SOLUTIONS: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy 26(3): 360-388.

Willow, Anna and Sara Wylie. 2014. “Politics, ecology, and the new anthropology of energy: exploring the emerging frontiers of hydraulic fracking. Journal of Political Ecology 21: 222-236.

Wylie, Sara and Len Albright. 2014. “WellWatch: reflections on designing digital media for multi-sited para-ethnography.” Journal of Political Ecology 21: 320-348.

Wylie, Sara, Kirk Jalbert, Shannon Dosemagen, and Matt Ratto. 2014. “Institutions for civic technoscience: How critical making is transforming environmental research.” The Information Society 30(2): 116-126.

Ratto, Matt, Sara Wylie, and Kirk Jalbert. 2014. “Introduction to the Special Forum on Critical Making as Research Program.” The Information Society 30(2): 85-95.

Wylie, Sara. 2011. “Hormone Mimics and their Promise of Significant Otherness.” Science as Culture 21(1): 49-76.


How Public Lab Drafts the Public with its Open-Source Tool Development Process” PBS MediaShift IdeaLab Blog – Sara Wylie, 6/20/12

“The Faces Behind Public Lab’s Grassroots Research Community” PBS MediaShift IdeaLab Blog – Shannon Dosemagen and Sara Wylie, 3/12/12

“How Public Lab’s Thermal Flashlight Could Improve Home Insulation” PBS MediaShift IdeaLab Blog – Sara Wylie, 1/17/12

“Public Laboratory: Don’t Just Report Science, Do It!” PBS MediaShift – Shannon Dosemagen, Jeff Warren and Sara Wylie, 11/23/11

Public Lab Aims for Affordable Hydrogen Sulfide Sensors” PBS MediaShift IdeaLab Blog– Sara Wylie and Shannon Dosemagen, 10/25/11