A vaccine trial with a public audience and rave reviews

With the recent roll out of the covid-19 vaccine all eyes have been on the clinical trial data. In this blog our Senior Research Fellow, Professor Ken Donaldson, tells us more about a very different vaccine trial. As we have seen with the Covid vaccine, the modern vaccine trial process is complex and highly confidential…

2020: A Year In Review

As we prepare to say goodbye to 2020 we thought we would keep up the tradition of looking back at the year with our “Year in Review” blog. 2020 has been a year like none of us have ever experienced before and we have been very fortunate to have a great team here at Surgeons’…

The Spanish orphans who became living vaccine incubators

In this blog our Senior Research Fellow, Professor Ken Donaldson, looks at the history of transporting vaccines. We are currently at the mercy of a pandemic and are awaiting ‘cavalry’ in the form of vaccines.  The first vaccine that has emerged from testing needs to be stored at -70 o and this highlights the necessity…

Meet the two versions of Phineas Gage

Senior Research Fellow, Professor Ken Donaldson, first encountered the story of Phineas Gage during a major course Psychology at University of Stirling in 1974 and this fascinating tale has stuck with him ever since. In this blog he tells us more about the curious case of Phineas Gage. A moral man, Phineas GageTamping powder down…

A Question of Balance

Our Human Remains Conservator, Cat Irving, tells us more about the history of insulin. Anyone with type 1 diabetes is familiar with the concept of balancing their blood sugar – weighing activity and food against medication. This is something I have lived with daily for nearly thirty years. It is a condition that is dealt…

Meet Daniel Sickles

Our Senior Research Fellow, Professor Ken Donaldson, tells us more about an interesting tale he came across during his research. The Battle of Gettysburg, in July 1863, was the bloodiest Battle of the American Civil War, producing about 50,000 casualties over 3 days of fighting around Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle had begun badly for the…

An Eagle’s Skull

Our Human Remains Conservator was doing some work for our new Body Voyager galleries when she came across a skull which had an unusual feature. In this blog she explains what makes this feature so rare and tells us more about the condition that caused it. Sometimes in a museum you find things you aren’t…

The history of vaccination – learning to hoodwink immunological memory

In this latest blog our Senior Research Fellow, Professor Ken Donaldson, takes us through the history of vaccination. As we all wait for a vaccine against Covid-19, it’s timely to consider the history of vaccination and its nature. The basis of vaccination is that serious infection by a virus or bacterium can be prevented by…

The discovery of the nature of infectious disease

From the mystery of fever to germ theory our Senior Research Fellow, Professor Ken Donaldson, discusses the discovery of infectious diseases throughout history. The mystery of ‘Fever’ The current pandemic serves to remind us that our environment teems with microbes that we can’t see, at least not with the naked eye.  Luckily very few of…

Surgical Complications

In this blog our Human Remains Conservator, Cat Irving, talks about what happens on the rare occasion an item gets left behind inside the patient after surgery. When a patient is being stitched up after surgery, one hopes that nothing has been left inside the body that shouldn’t be there. Unfortunately it happens. Usually someone…

The Discovery of Viruses

As our lives have been greatly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic it’s hard to imagine a world without viruses. But when were viruses discovered? Our Senior Research Fellow, Professor Ken Donaldson, takes us through the history of viruses. The current pandemic serves to remind us that the first discovery of viruses was only one hundred…