The History of Modern Biomedicine Research Group
Producing freely available material on the history of recent biomedicine by interacting with healthcare professionals & historians, from Queen Mary, University of London.
The History of Modern Biomedicine Research Group originated as the Wellcome Trust's History of Twentieth Century Medicine Group, set up in 1990 to develop and strengthen links between members of the biomedical research community and medical historians, and to promote and facilitate the study of the history of twentieth-century medicine and medical science by encouraging the creation and deposit of material sources for use by present and future historians.
Makers of Modern Biomedicine: Testimonies and Legacy
This Strategic Award from the Wellcome Trust to the History of Modern Biomedicine Research Group, headed by Professor Tilli Tansey, is to record oral testimonies from groups and individuals who have made a significant contribution to the legacy of modern biomedicine. Following on from their successful Witness Seminars, the Group will create an extensive widely accessible and freely available collection of further Witness Seminars and individual interviews with key figures in recent biomedical research.
The key aspects of the project are:
- Multidisciplinary input from historians, ethicists, and scientists from a wide range of biomedical areas.
- A published resource in print and digital media for the benefit of researchers both nationally and internationally
- The development of five major themes:
- clinical genetics
- global health and infectious diseases
- medical technologies
- ethics of research and practice
For further information about the Project Group and the work we do, please download our 'About Us' .pdf. (NB: requires Adobe Reader to view)
To listen to an audio podcast about the Makers of Modern Biomedicine Project Wellcome Trust Strategic Award, please click here.
OriginsSince its foundation the Group promoted communication between scientists, clinicians and historians through seminars, symposia, a Summer School, initiated the short-term sabbatical leave scheme that allows practitioners to undertake a historical project, and held and published Witness Seminars. Originally a part of the Wellcome Trust and then the Academic Unit of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, from 2000–2010 it was a constituent part of the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL, in October 2010 it moved to the School of History, QMUL.
Participants at the Witness Seminar on the History of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children
These are meetings to which individuals associated with a particular set of circumstances or events in recent medical history are invited to discuss, debate, agree or disagree amongst themselves about their reminiscences in a chairman-led meeting. Practically a form of open peer-review, these meetings are recorded, transcribed and edited for publication, as contributions to the literature of the recent history of medicine. To date more than 50 Witness Seminars have been held, most of which have been published - hard copies are available for purchase and electronic copies may be downloaded free of charge (click here for details). All materials relating to the meetings, the original tapes, transcripts, and correspondence are deposited at GC/253 in the Archives and Manuscripts section of the Wellcome Library, London, for later consultation.
Members of Archives & Manuscripts, the Wellcome Library, celebrating the publication of the catalogue of the Witness Seminar archives! Archivists L to R: Amanda Engineer, Natalie Walters, Jon Cable, Jenny Haynes.
Other Seminars and Symposia
The Group assisted in the organization of several symposia in the academic programme of the Unit, including Ashes to Ashes: The history of smoking and health held in 1995, which incorporated a Witness Seminar1; Remedies and Healing Cultures (with the Huizinga Institute, 1998)2, Maritime Medicine (2000), Drugs and their Makers (2002), and Drugs and the Medical Market Place (2003).
1: Lock S, Reynolds L A, Tansey E M. (1998) Ashes to Ashes : The history of smoking and health. Wellcome series in the history of medicine, Clio medica no. 46. Amsterdam : Editions Rodopi B V. Second edn, 2003.
2: Heteren G van, Gijswijt-Hofstra M, Tansey E M. (eds) (2002) Biographies of Remedies: Drugs, medicines, and contraceptives in Dutch and Anglo-American healing cultures. Wellcome series in the history of medicine, Clio medica no. 66. Amsterdam; New York, NY : Editions Rodopi BV.