Professor Tilli Tansey OBE

Professor of the History of Modern Medical Sciences

Location Arts Two 2.30


Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 5725

I joined QMUL in October 2010. I work on the history of modern medical sciences

I completed a PhD on Octopus brain chemistry before working as a research neuroscientist for many years. In 1990 I was awarded a second PhD in medical history, and since then have worked at the Wellcome Trust, UCL (becoming professor in 2008). I currently head the History of Modern Biomedicine Research Group.



I specialise in the history of twentieth and twenty-first century medical sciences, particularly physiology, pharmacology and the neurosciences, and am also interested in the development of medical research funding and policy.

A major project The Makers of Modern Biomedicine is funded by a Strategic Award from the Wellcome Trust, which is focused around five major themes:

  • Clinical genetics
  • Neurosciences
  • Ethics in medical research and practice
  • Medical technology
  • Global and infectious diseases

This project records and analyses recent events in these areas using individual and group oral history methodologies, bibliographic and archival research techniques. All research materials are made freely available on the Project website at and YouTube and iTunesU clips are also available from the same site.

I have also co-supervised oral and video-history projects on laboratory technicians, the pharmaceutical industry and contemporary neuroscience, the raw research materials of which are all deposited in the Wellcome Library for others to use. 

Postgraduate supervision 

I welcome applications from candidates wishing to undertake doctoral research in the following areas:

  • the history of the modern medical sciences



Edited Texts

Edited books




Membership of professional associations or societies 

Editorial Positions

Appearances in the media