I am a Lecturer in Health Humanities and Health Sciences in the Department of English at King’s College London.
My research explores how we talk and think about dementia and ageing, in scientific research, medical practice and wider culture, and how the way we do so affects our experiences of ageing, the meaning we assign to getting older, and the decisions we make about older people. I bring to these questions a dual background in pharmaceutical sciences and literary studies.
My laboratory and clinical investigations focused on molecular mechanisms underlying nerve cell death in neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. I have researched and taught in the field of neuropharmacology for fifteen years, am a licensed pharmacist, and hold an honorary Associate Professor position (Habilitation; Privatdozentin) in Pharmacology at Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany. In my studies and work in four European countries (Germany, France, Italy and the UK), I greatly benefitted from the European Union’s principle of Freedom of Movement.
Over time my scholarly interests shifted towards questions to which the field of the health humanities tries to find answers. I am particularly interested in how specific cultural trends and ideas lead laboratory and clinical researchers to study health and disease – especially conditions of ageing and old age as well as ageing itself. I hold a second PhD in the Health Humanities and have published in Health Humanities journals including Literature and Medicine and Medical Humanities, as well as teaching journals like the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education.
My first monograph, on The Poetics and Politics of Alzheimer’s Disease Life-Writing (2017), has come out in the Literature, Science and Medicine series of the Palgrave imprint; thanks to Wellcome Trust funding you can download it free from the publisher’s page. My second book, The Diseased Brain and the Failing Mind. Dementia in Science, Medicine and Literature of the Long Twentieth Century (2020), is published in the Bloomsbury series Explorations in Science and Literature. Thanks to Wellcome Trust funding also this monograph is available open access.
At the moment, I am running a research programme on ageing, The Sciences of Ageing and the Culture of Youth, 1880 to the present day, funded by a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship. Before joining King’s I worked at the University of Warwick, where I taught science communication in the Department of Physics and, with the Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning, developed discipline-crossing modules that explore the rhetoric of science and interrogate the public discourse about science.