My research is focused in three connected areas: (i) the history of infectious diseases; (ii) how research findings are translated into clinical practices; and (iii) science, medicine and the making of the modern domestic dog.
My most recent book on infectious diseases was entitled Mad Dogs and Englishmen: Rabies in Britain, 1830-2000 (2007), co-authored with Dr Neil Pemberton. I have ongoing research on tuberculosis, Legionnaires’ disease and fungal infections.
Relations between research and medical practice have been an interest for many years, but took a new turn this year with a major study of laboratory-clinic relations in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of mental disease, dementia and stroke.
Research for the book on rabies led to a project on pedigree dog breeding in Victorian Britain, which will look at the growth of the dog fancy and the creation of fancy dogs. In January 2012, I will lead a new project entitled ‘Pedigree Chums: Science, medicine and the remaking of the dog in the twentieth century’. We will explore how changing ideas and practices on breeding, feeding, training and treating altered the physical form, bodily function, behaviour, health and meanings of different types of dog: pet, show, working, laboratory and stray-dangerous.