When studying for my first degree in biochemistry at the Freie Universität Berlin, I took a series of history courses in addition to the compulsory science training. Wondering how I could possibly combine my interests in science and history, I stumbled across the history of science, technology and medicine. After graduating, I was offered a job as a research assistant at the Scripps Research Institute and spent two years in La Jolla, California. While there, I audited course modules in the Science Studies Programme at University of California, San Diego. I then enrolled for an MA in History and Social Anthropology of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester (supported by a Wellcome Trust Studentship) and in 1999 completed a PhD, also at the University of Manchester, on Weimar Medical Culture: Doctors, Healers and the 'Crisis of Medicine' in Interwar Germany (again supported by a Wellcome Trust Studentship).
Since 1999, I have worked at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, initially as a research fellow and later a lecturer. I have been a frequent visitor, sometimes for longer periods, at the Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin and have collaborated closely with colleagues in continental Europe, the United States and Canada.
Since 2000 I have taught a variety of course units in the history of medicine and the life sciences. I have also taught course units dealing with the historiography of science, technology and medicine for undergraduate and postgraduate students.
I am Co-Director of the MSc in Medical Humanities (with Dr Sarah Collins).
I currently supervise the following PhD students:
- Andrew Ball (with Dr Rob Kirk)
- Leah De Quattro (with Drs Sarah Collins and Vicky Singleton)
- Kate Hiepko (with Professor Steve Parker)
- Linnea Kuglitsch (with Professor Eleanor Casella)
- Nicola Sugden (with Professor Celia Roberts and Dr Adrian Sutton)
In 2015 Dr Elizabeth Toon and I founded the Medical Humanities Laboratory to create a virtual home for interdisciplinary activities around health and medicine.
I am also the Academic Lead for the University's Museum of Medicine and Health.
I am Chair of the Executive Committee of the Society for Social History of Medicine.
Jointly with Mick Worboys, I edit the Palgrave book series Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in Modern History.
Most recent Book: A History of Lung Cancer: The Recalcitrant Disease
Reviewed in: British Journal for the History of Science, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Isis, Lancet Oncology, Social History of Medicine, Sociology of Health and Illness, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences