I am a Research Associate for the Oxford Martin School's (OMS) Programme on Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease and a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College. Based at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, my research addresses the global history of antibiotic use, resistance, and regulation and the implications of history for current antibiotic governance. My dissertation Pyrrhic Progress – Antibiotics in Western Food Production (1949-2015) was awarded Oxford’s 2016 Dev Family Prize for the best thesis in the history of medicine. A monograph based on the dissertation will appear with Rutgers University Press in early 2019. Between 2015 and 2017, I also worked as a co-curator for the Museum of the History of Science’s (MHS) special exhibition Back from the Dead – Demystifying Antibiotics (Nov 2016 – May 2017, 50,000 visitors), which explored the history and current challenges of antibiotic development and bacterial resistance (AMR). For our collaboration on Back from the Dead, the OMS and MHS were jointly awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Public Engagement with Research Projects Award in 2017. In 2017, I also advised on Al Smith’s dystopian AMR-themed radio drama ‘Culture’ (BBC Radio 4, ca. 1,000,000 listeners, commended at BBC 2018 Audio Drama Awards.)
In addition to antibiotics and AMR, I am interested in further intersections between the history of the biomedical sciences and environmental history. My new research projects explore the history of animal welfare science as well as the global history of typhoid, epidemiological surveillance, and infection control.
History of antibiotic use, resistance, and regulation
Public health and epidemiology
Bacteriophage and phage-typing
My research interests include environmental history, history of medicine, science and technology studies, and public health policy. In addition to my current research on the history of antibiotic development and policy, I have grown interested in the technologies underpinning modern understandings of bacterial resistance, our microbial surroundings, and our own microbiome. I am particularly interested in the role that a group of viruses called bacteriophages and a technology called phage-typing played in changing 20th century epidemiology, infection control, and bacterial taxonomy.
I am a tutor for Oxford’s General History XIV Paper on 20th century Global History and teach the Further Subject 22 Authority of Nature on the history of eugenics, heredity and crime since 1800.
Toxic Tales—Recent Histories of Pollution, Poisoning, and Pesticides (ca. 1800–2010)
The past two decades have seen a surge of publications on the histories of various toxic substances. Often fusing approaches from environmental history and the histories of science, medicine, and technology, historians have explored the manufacturing of hazardous products and by-products; the various uses and cultural perceptions of toxic substances; their impact on health and the environment; and attempts to regulate toxic risk. This review summarises major themes arising from the growing body of historical work on the ‘toxic’. In synthesising these themes, the review highlights a common ‘toxic chronology’ that emerges from existing literature and discusses three new monographs in relation to gaps and weaknesses identified in current research.
Swann Song: Antibiotic Regulation in British Livestock Production (1953–2006)
Toxic confusion: the dilemma of antibiotic regulation in West German food production (1951–1990)
History Teaches Us That Confronting Antibiotic Resistance Requires Stronger Global Collective Action
Wie Seveso nach Deutschland kam. Umweltskandale und ökologische Debatten 1976 bis 1986