Visiting Researchers and Students in Residence

Dr. John Jarrell

Dr. John Jarrell, Emeritus Professor in the Department of OBGYN at the Cumming School of Medicine, has joined the History of Medicine and Health Care Program as a Visiting Researcher since September 2018. He has since continued to work on a project that examines the historical development of theories and therapies of chronic pelvic pain.

The goal of the project has been to explore how chronic pelvic pain was approached and managed prior to its first formal nominal identification in 1925. The case of the Battey Operation served this purpose. Dr Robert Battey (1828-1895) was an extraordinary American surgeon who transformed gynecological surgery in 1872. The 'Battey Operation' sought to improve the lives of women suffering from menstrual pain by removing the ovaries and generating a menopausal state. The operation was initially very popular but the operation (and Battey) were eventually discredited owing to protean indications for such surgery. Although heavily criticized by recent historians, there has not been a review of Battey's experiences from a clinical perspective, focusing on what is now known about chronic pelvic pain. Battey's theory of eliminating menstruation has become a component of the medical and surgical treatment of chronic pelvic pain.

Christiane Buhl

Christiane Buhl (a phD candidate at the University of Lübeck, Germany) is a visiting student researcher. Her project "To the marrow - The history of the intramedullary nailing technique" deals with two topics: Firstly an analyses of the life long, very productive and equatable cooperation between Gerhard Küntscher (1900-1972), who is known as the inventer of the so called “Küntscher-Nail”, and his partner, German engi­neer, fabricant and salesman Ernst Pohl (1874-1962), who in fact was the person which transferred Küntschers ideas into objects. And secondly with the invention itself and the further development of the “Küntscher-Nail” and its technique. For her research she analyses a 550 letters correspondence between Küntscher and Pohl spanning 17 years as well as material culture and contemporary medical publications.

Dr. Michel Shamy

Dr. Michel Shamy is a Clinical Fellow in Vascular Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He holds a B.A. cum laude in History from Yale, and an MD from Queen's University, Ontario. He completed specialty training in Neurology at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Shamy is interested in studying the historical and philosophical aspects of contemporary neurologic practice. His current research project focuses on Understanding the Historical, Ethical and Epistemological Context of Treating Patients with Acute Ischemic Stroke with the intravenous medicine tPA.

Dr. Arafaat Valiani

Dr. Valiani is an historian of science and his current intellectual interests focus on questions of decolonization, indigeneity and  biomedicine. His current research seeks to historically situate genomics and precision medicine and foreground responses by Indigenous peoples in Canada and South Asia to biomedicine and biotechnology in the twentieth and twenty-first century. Dr. Valiani earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University and is Associate Professor of History and Graduate Faculty in Indigenous, Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of Oregon.

Dr. Stephen Pow

Stephen Pow (PhD, Central European University, Budapest and Vienna, 2020) is a historian of pre-modern Europe and Asia. He has published extensively on a diverse range of related topics such as health care and disease in the Mongol Empire. He has written articles on the background role of epidemics and environmental factors in historical events, and has produced articles on nineteenth- and twentieth-century history of medicine in diverse journals (Journal of Medical Biography, Journal of Neurology, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, etc.). He is currently adjunct professor in the history of science at St. Mary’s University in Calgary.

Stephen's postdoctoral project "The Global Challenge of Cholera in the Nineteenth Century: Standard Narratives and New Perspectives on Societal Responses and Medical Notions" brings together trends in public health, environmental, and Asian history, while strengthening new methodological insights and approaches. Cholera pandemics triggered worldwide panic in the nineteenth century. Based on historical research, the project highlights how globalization trends brought new challenges in containing cholera. Military campaigns, mass migrations, pilgrimages, and urbanization extended the pathogen’s range and devastation. Environmental disasters likewise contributed to nineteenth-century outbreaks. It also offers novel reappraisals of long-held assumptions on cholera’s history by highlighting recorded statements and policies in Europe, Persia, etc. that demonstrate some physicians believed water had a role in the transmission of cholera before John Snow's seminal publication (1854) based on the Broad Street Pump episode.

His research interests include the history of epidemics, public health, and diseases from the Medieval Period to the 19th century.

Research Projects by Visiting Student Researchers & Summer Students in Residence (selection)

Mr. Chinmaya Mishra

Mr. Chinmaya Mishra, currently a second-year BSc student in the Neuroscience Program at the University of Calgary, is conducting research on “Psychiatry, Eugenics and The Albertan Public- Analyzing the Public Perception of Early Forced Sterilization Programs from a Historical Viewpoint” (under the supervision of Dr. Frank Stahnisch). The project is based on collaboration with members of the History of Neuroscience Interest Group at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and Alberta Health Services Archives, as well as support from the Glenboe Museum and additional University of Calgary affiliates.

Ms. Nicole Lefebvre

Ms. Nicole Lefebvre’s (a first-year BSc student in Neuroscience) project is based on "the Mackie Family Collection in the History of Neuroscience at the UofC Health Sciences Library" and the catalogue created by Robert Gordon, MD (Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas) that is associated with it. For the catalogue, Nicole Lefebvre begins to correct any spelling, grammatical, or factual mistakes contained. For the collection, she creates an annotated bibliography of the books in the collection. The annotations would include biographical information on the author, a description of the material contained in the book, and the condition of the book. She will consult Webb Haymaker’s and Francis Schiller’s “Founders of Neurology” (1970) and Stanley Finger’s “Minds Behind the Brain” (2000) when completing these tasks. Through working through the books, Nicole Lefebvre will attempt to determine the major trends in the history of neurology and neuroscience found in the collection as well as provide a critical appraisal of the books themselves.

Mr. Aravind Ganesh

Mr. Aravind Ganesh (a final-year MD student in the Calgary UME program) has been awarded a Hannah Studentship in the History of Medicine in the year 2011. His research project “Emergence, Evolution, and Resolution: The History of Multiple Sclerosis Investigations in Canada Between 1850 and 1950” analyzes the modern medical profession’s quandaries with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). His Project intends to provide an overview of the century of research (1850-1950) that followed the emergence of this clinical entity, described by Hans Lassmann (born 1949) as a ‘golden centenium’ for the evolution of medical understanding of MS, with a focus on the Canadian perspective. Using journal articles, reviews, and case studies, this paper outlines the diagnostic challenges that confronted early Canadian neurologists in their encounters with MS, as well as their attempts to understand its aetiology. These activities were influenced by developments in the field in Europe and the United States. Since MS initially emerged from the nosological category of Paralysis Agitans (“Parkinson’s Complex”), one of the major challenges encountered was the discrimination between these two conditions. Ultimately, the advancements made in the characterization of MS and the resolution of its differential diagnoses, set the stage for the modern era of immunologic and therapeutic research.

Mr. Claudio Flores Martinez

Mr. Claudio Flores Martinez (a second-year BSc student in Biology) is a Visiting Student Researcher from the University of Heidelberg in Germany. His research project “The Visual Culture of the Neurosciences from a Hyperrealist Perspective” focuses on the nature of images produced with modern neuroscience imaging techniques, such as CT, MRI, PET-scans.  The “products” of neuroimaging are an information-derived process, which goes often beyond the specific influence and reach of human perception and decision-making. Almost two hundred years ago, in his main work, “The World as Will and Representation”, philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) criticized the phenomenological and epistemic limitations of the prevailing natural sciences by emphasizing their inextricable attachment to mere appearances.  From this perspective, Schopenhauer is here regarded a forerunner of the philosophy of mind and its most striking issue – the “hard problem”.

Ms. Theresa Bruncke

Ms. Theresa Bruncke, a third-year BSc Student in (Neuro-)Biology from the University of Heidelberg (Germany) has joined the Calgary History of Medicine and Health Care Program through the international research exchange program RISE! sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in New York. During her Internship between Aug-15 and Oct-15, 2010, she had worked on a subproject of a larger research program on "The Emergence of Brain Imaging - Analyzing the Visual Culture of the Neurosciences from a Theoretical and Historical Perspective" (under the direction of Dr. Frank Stahnisch and with the supervisory input from members of the History of Neuroscience interest Group at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute as well as other partners at the University of Calgary).

read a synopsis of this project

Ms. Yasmin Mayne and Karolina Kowalewski

Ms. Yasmin Mayne and Karolina Kowalewski, third-year students in the Health and Society stream of the BHSc program, were our first students in residence between October 2008 and April 2009. They worked on a research project entitled, "Mapping Public Mental Health in the Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan during the First Half of the 20th Century" (under the direction of Drs. Frank Stahnisch and Ardene Vollman -- both in the Department of Community Health Sciences)

read a synopsis of their project

Chris Noss

Chris Noss, BScPT (now a MD at the University of Calgary), then a 2nd year medical student at Queens University (Kingston, Ontario), had been in residence between May and July 2009 and worked on a project regarding historical aspects of "Myofascial Pain Theories in the 20th Century". Chris Noss graduated, in 2001, from the UofA in Edmonton with a BScPT. He practiced as a physiotherapist in private practice during the following eight years. Initially, his practice was primarily in the areas of sports therapy and occupational rehabilitation, but his post-graduate education focused on courses in manual therapy and intramuscular stimulation (IMS). Chris Noss' practice eventually became focused around manipulation, exercise and IMS. This orientation lends itself nicely to the management of chronic spinal dysfunction and he found his practice growing in that area. During the past four years, his practice has been located in a multidisciplinary clinic, where he works primarily with Chiropractic and Massage in the management of chronic spinal pain cases. In 2007, he began medical school at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, where he currently resides.

Project Information

Chris Noss' interest in the history of theories and management of chronic pain conditions stemmed from his years of practice as a physiotherapist. He had chosen to focus on the history of myofascial and neuropathic pain with particular attention to the contributions made by Canadian neurophysiologist and practicioner Dr. Chan Gunn and his collaborators. During the past fourty years, Dr. Gunn has worked exclusively with these patients and has developed a very unique theory and treatment technique for their management. This oral history project explored what influence his upbringing in Malaysia has had on the development of his theory, which blends Western Neuroscience with an Ancient Acupuncture Technique. The scope of Chris Noss' project was to research and author a paper on these subjects, by drawing on relevant research publications, grey literature from related research institutions, and oral history interviews with working groups in Vancouver and elsewhere in Canada.