Dr Harriet Palfreyman PhD

Lecturer in Science Communication

Full contact details
View graph of relations


I am a historian of medicine with a broad interest in the role of visual and material culture in medicine. Whether as a sixteenth-century anatomical woodcut or a twenty-first-century MRI scan, these visualisations have much to tell us about our understandings of health and illness, our bodies and selves, and the role of medicine in our lives.  

I recieved my PhD from the University of Warwick in 2012. My thesis focused on the visual construction of knowledge about venereal disease in nineteenth century London. Since then I have attempted to move on to less grusome topics with very little success. My first postdoctoral postition was at Imperial College London where I worked on the history of minimally invasive surgery alongside a public engagement project on the longer history of surgery. Following this I worked at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science where I was based in the research group looking at 'The Construction of Norms in Seventeenth to Nineteenth-Century Europe and the United States'

In 2015 I took up the Williamson Fellowship at CHSTM and have returned to the world of medical imagery, now focusing on pathology, and extending my focus into the twentieth century.

Biology, Medicine and Health (BMH) Domains

Education / academic qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Visualising Venereal Disease in London c.1780-1860, The University of Warwick

Related information


Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

View all (1)