Viviane Quirke

Viviane Quirke

Viviane Quirke

Doan Fellow

I am a senior lecturer in modern history and history of medicine in the Department of History, Philosophy, and Religion at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, U.K., where I had previously been a postdoctoral research fellow from 2003 to 2006.

My current research areas are the history of pharmaceutical R&D, focusing on the history of drug treatments for chronic diseases and the impact of drug-safety regulation; the history of company-hospital relations and the development of clusters of biomedical innovation in Britain, France, and the United States; and the history of cancer chemotherapy, studied both from the perspective of the researchers and of the sufferers.

Having lived and been educated in Canada, France, and the United Kingdom, my work is comparative as well as interdisciplinary. My publications include, for example,

  1. “Foreign Influences, National Styles, and the Creation of a Modern Pharmaceutical Industry in Britain and France.” In V. Quirke, ed., “Pharmaceutical Styles of Thinking and Doing: French and British Spheres of Influence in the Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth Centuries,” special issue. Pharmacy in History 52 (2010): 134–147.
  2. Perspectives on Twentieth-Century Pharmaceuticals, edited collection with Judy Slinn. Oxford: Peter Lang, 2010.
  3. “The Material Culture(s) of the British Pharmaceutical Laboratory in the Golden Age of Drug Discovery.” International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology 79 (2009): 298–317.
  4. “Anglo-American Relations and the Co-production of American “Hegemony” in Pharmaceuticals.” In H. Bonin and F. de Goey, eds., American Firms in Europe, pp. 363–384. Geneva: Droz, 2009.
  5. “The Era of Biomedicine: Science, Medicine and Health in Britain and France, ca. 1945-65.” In V. Quirke and J.-P. Gaudillière, eds., special issue of Medical History 52 (2008): 441–452.
  6. Collaboration in the Pharmaceutical Industry: Changing Relationships in Britain and in France, ca. 19351965. London/New York: Routledge, 2008.
  7. “Putting Theory into Practice: James Black, Receptor Theory, and the Development of the Beta-Blockers at ICI.” Medical History 50 (2006): 69–92.
  8. “From Alkaloids to Gene Therapy: A Brief History of Drug Discovery.” In S. Anderson, ed., Making Medicines: A Brief History of Pharmacy, pp. 177–201. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 2005.
  9. “Making British Cortisone: Glaxo and the Development of Corticosteroid Drugs in the UK in the 1950s and 1960s.” In special issue of Studies in History and Philosophy of Biology and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2005): 645–674.
  10. “From Evidence to Market: Alfred Spinks’s 1953 Survey of New Fields for Pharmacological Research, and the Origins of ICI’s Cardiovascular Programme.” In V. Berridge and K. Loughlin, eds., Medicine, the Market and the Mass Media: Producing Health in the 20th Century, pp. 146–171. London: Routledge, 2005.
  11. “War and Change in the Pharmaceutical Industry:  A Comparative Study of Britain and France in the Twentieth Century.” In Sophie Chauveau, ed., “Industries du Médicament et du Vivant," Enterprises et Histoire 36 (2004): 64–83.

I have been an active member of a number of societies in history of science, technology, and medicine, such as the British Society for the History of Science, of which I was the secretary between 2005 and 2011, and the Historical Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry, of which I was the newsletter editor between 2006 and 2010.

During my time as Doan Fellow working on my project entitled “Chemistry and the History of Cancer Chemotherapy in the U.S., 1940s–1990s,” I will explore the changing role of chemistry in the development of cancer chemotherapy. My aim is to build on research I have already carried out in Britain and France, whose cancer chemotherapy programs are less well known than their American counterpart. I will examine to what extent international collaborations, as well as growing environmental concerns over the role of chemicals in cancer causation, led to chemistry’s input gradually being replaced by a more biomedical one, transforming the American market for anti-cancer drugs and changing the nature of cancer therapy in the process.


Viviane Quirke at Oxford Brookes University

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