Dr Stephen Jacyna

Dr Stephen Jacyna

Dr Stephen Jacyna has published a biography of the British neurologist, Sir Henry Head (1861-1940).  His other research interests include the history of histology in the nineteenth century with special reference to the formation of expertise and the adjudication of disputes within communities of microscopic observers.



History of neurosciences
My current research deals with the impact of developments in neuroscientific research and the emergence of the specialty of clinical neurology upon the wider culture.  I am, in particular, interested in interactions between patients and neurologists in the period following 1860.  Themes to be explored include: the phenomenology of neurological illness, the literary forms in which these experiences are conveyed, the use of "exemplary" patients as objects of scientific study, and the fluid boundary between "functional" and "organic" nervous disorders. I have also recently begun a new project that will explore the relations between developments in neuroanatomy and psychology in nineteenth-century France.


1976 BA University of Cambridge
1980 PhD University of Edinburgh
1980 Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, WIHM
1983 Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, University of Newcastle
1985 Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, University of Glasgow
1989 Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, University of Manchester
1993 Senior Fellow, WIHM/UCL
2006 Reader, The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL
Director, The UCL Centre for the History of Medicine

Key publications

"'A Host of Experienced Microscopists': The Establishment of Histology in Nineteenth-Century Edinburgh," Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 2001, 75, 225-53. "Moral Fibre: The Negotiation of Microscopic Facts in Victorian Britain," Journal of the History of Biology, 2003, 36, 39-85.

"Starting Anew: Henry Head's Contribution to Aphasia Studies," Journal of Neurolinguistics, 2005, 18, 327-336.

"Medicine and Modernism: A Biography of Sir Henry Head" (London: Chatto & Pickering, 2008)

"'The most important of all the organs’: Darwin on the Brain," Brain, 2009, 132. 3481-3487.

“Henry Head as a reader of literature,” in Katie Halsey and Bob Owens (eds), The History of Reading, Palgrave Press, 2011.

“Reckoning with the emotions in post-Darwinian neurology,” in Angelique Richardson and Brian Dolan (eds), Darwin and the Emotions University of California Press, 2011.