Whooley’s research focuses on medical professionals, specifically the history of professionalization in the United States, the nature of professional politics, and the influence of medical professions on policy outcomes. His forthcoming book, Knowledge in the Time of Cholera, explores how the modern American medical profession emerged out of an intellectual crisis produced by recurrent cholera epidemics in the 19th century and the struggles over medical knowledge between medical sects that followed in their wake. Whooley offers a fresh understanding of the origins of the exceptional – and politically powerful – U.S. medical profession, one that underscores the ways in which the tension between professional authority and democratic cultural values shaped the profession. His current research focuses on the professional politics involved in the definition of mental disorders, with an emphasis on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). All of Whooley’s research is animated by an overarching interest in the role of experts and professions in democratic decision-making.