Feb 6th SSHM Dr Lara Marks spoke to BBC Radio 4 about Carl Djerassi

On February 6th Dr Lara Marks spoke to BBC Radio 4 about Carl Djerassi, the inventor of the contraceptive pill. You can listen to the interview here.

sexual chemistryLara Marks is a trained historian of medicine, who has a long history of collaboration on projects and teaching across different disciplines. Over the past few years Lara Marks has published numerous articles and books on a range of subjects, including ethnicity and healthcare, the social determinants of maternal and infant health, and the history of pharmaceutical discovery, development and regulation. Internationally, she is most well known for her book Sexual Chemistry: A history of the contraceptive pill. The book was published by Yale University Press as a hardback in 2001, and then as a revised paperback edition in 2010. Receiving favourable reviews in both the public press and academic circles, in 2003 the book was awarded ‘Outstanding title’ by University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries. For reviews of the book see here.

Currently, Lara Marks is researching biotechnology and the impact this has had for healthcare since the 1970s. Her next book,  called ‘The Lock and Key’ of Medicine: Monoclonal antibodies and their transformation of healthcare will be published in June this year for Yale University Press. A central theme of this book is how monoclonal antibodies have become intrinsic to today’s medical care, both in terms of diagnostics and therapeutics and how they have helped shape understandings of the causes of disease as well as treatments adopted since the 1970s. On the diagnostics front, the book considers the impact of the technology on the speed, accuracy and automation of tests, as well as its implications for mass screening.

n addition to her book projects, Lara is managing editor of the website  ‘What is Biotechnology’ . This is a comprehensive educational resource outlining what biotechnology is and what impact it has on our everyday lives in terms of healthcare.  The website provides stories of the scientists involved in the development and application of biotechnology in healthcare as well as those who were responsible for its commercialisation, funding, approval, and regulation. This is provided alongside the stories of individuals whose lives have been touched by biotechnology, such as patients who have used different forms of diagnostics and therapeutics developed through biotechnology. Overall the website provides insight into the complex processes involved in the application of biotechnology in healthcare as well as the benefits and risks it poses.

For inquiries contact Dr Lara Marks: lara.v.marksATkcl.ac.uk

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