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Professor Tilli Tansey (OBE, FMedSci, HonFRCP)


Tilli is an Emeritus Professor of Medical History and Pharmacology at the William Harvey Research Institute - Barts and The London, Queen Mary,  University of London; an Honorary Professor in the Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, UCL; a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences; an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London, and a Foreign Fellow of the Tatarstan Academy of Sciences, Russia.  She has also been elected as an Honorary Member of the Physiological Society; an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of the History of Medicine of the Society of Apothecaries; an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and is currently serving as the President of the History of Medicine Society at the Royal Society of Medicine. She was awarded an OBE in the 2014 New Year’s Honours for her ‘services to research in the medical sciences and to the public understanding of science’.


Tilli gained her first degree and first PhD, on the neurochemistry of the Octopus brain, at the University of Sheffield, and spent several years working as a neuroscientist for the Medical Research Council in Edinburgh, and the Multiple Sclerosis Society at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. In 1990 she achieved a second PhD on the career of Sir Henry Dale, FRS (1875-1968) from UCL, and subsequently a DSc from the University of Sheffield in 2011, and an Honorary MD from the same University in 2016.


Her professional interests focus on the history of modern (post-second world war) and contemporary medical sciences,  including both quantitative and qualitative investigations. One of Tilli’s most significant accomplishments has been the development of the Witness Seminar series, which has successfully brought together medical professionals, scientists and technicians in group discussions to record and analyse advances and developments in modern biomedicine (The History of Modern Biomedicine).

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