mercredi 29 mars 2023

David Shreeve Doctoral Studentship in the History of Medicine

David Shreeve Doctoral Studentship in the History of Medicine 
Call for applications

The University of Manchester’s Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine (CHSTM) and John Rylands Research Institute invite applications to undertake a fully funded 3 year doctoral studentship researching the social and cultural history of neurology, neurosurgery and the brain sciences in Britain across the twentieth century.

This studentship has been made possible by the generous donation of Dr. David Shreeve.

This studentship will develop a comprehensive understanding of the history of neurology in Britain across the twentieth century. Research will examine the work of Sir Geoffrey Jefferson (1886-1961), pioneering neurosurgeon and professor at the university and his collaborators, including Dorothy Davison (1890-1984), an important figure in the art of medical illustration. Jefferson published many important works such as those on fractures of the atlas vertebra (often referred to as Jefferson’s Fracture), and in 1924 he became the first surgeon in Britain to perform a successful embolectomy. He held a number of surgical positions in the Manchester area including at Salford Royal and the MRI, before being offered the first neurosurgical chair in England by The University of Manchester. He became professor of neurological surgery and Director of the Neurological Laboratories in 1945 and was elected to the Royal Society in 1947. Dorothy Davison trained at the Manchester School of Art and entered the field of medical illustration through work done on Egyptology at the Manchester Museum. She was well known for her neurological, orthopaedic and haematological paintings and produced a number for Jefferson whilst working at the MRI and The University of Manchester. She was a pioneer in the field, and in 1939 was appointed Medical Artist by The University of Manchester, training a new generation of medical artists.

This project will explore Jefferson’s work across clinical research, neurosurgery and medicine, as well as his formative role in shaping the British neurology through contributions to the work of the Medical Research Council (principally as the Chairman of its Clinical Research Committee), thereby reconstructing his legacy and continued influence. In 2021, The University of Manchester launched the Geoffrey Jefferson Brain Research Centre ( which conducts ground breaking research to tackle some of medical science’s most devastating conditions. The launch of the centre demonstrates the continued influence of Jefferson’s work and Manchester’s contribution to the advancement of neurological research.

Working with academic colleagues in CHSTM and with the support of curators and specialists at the John Rylands Research Institute and Library, this studentship will seek to answer a number of research questions about the history of neurology through the framework of Jefferson’s career. Relatedly, it may also address his work with Dorothy Davison, and what this can tell us about the relationship between science and art and the increasingly important field of medical humanities. Research may also examine Jefferson’s more philosophical contributions, not least his early speculations on the ‘mind of mechanical man’ and the limits of what we would now call artificial intelligence.

Closing date: 1st June 2023.

For more details on and contacts for inquiries see:


Dr Robert G.W. Kirk

Prof Carsten Timmermann

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