Mary Dobson is an historian of medicine with wide ranging interests. In particular, she has worked extensively on the history of malaria in England and sub-Saharan Africa. Born in 1954, she was educated in Kent and South London before studying Geography at Oxford University, where she was awarded a BA with first class honours in 1976 and a DPhil in 1982. She has held a number of Research Fellowships, including a Harkness Fellowship at Harvard University, and was formerly Director of the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, Oxford, and a Fellow of Green Templeton College.
She is author of a variety of publications ranging from academic articles and monographs to popular science and history. These include CONTOURS OF DEATH AND DISEASE IN EARLY MODERN ENGLAND (Cambridge University Press, 1997); DISEASE: THE EXTRAORDINARY STORIES BEHIND HISTORY’S DEADLIEST KILLERS (Quercus, 2007; Metro Books, 2013; translated into German, Japanese, and Chinese); THE STORY OF MEDICINE: FROM BLOODLETTING TO BIOTECHNOLOGY (Quercus, 2013; translated into German); and MURDEROUS CONTAGION: A HUMAN HISTORY OF DISEASE (Quercus, 2015). She has also written a series of ‘scratch ’n sniff’ SMELLY OLD HISTORY books for children, published by Oxford University Press in 1997-98 and translated into six languages. Her book ANATOMICA: A COMPENDIUM OF BLOOD, BONES AND BODIES will be published by Head of Zeus in August 2019.
She is married to Professor Christopher Dobson, John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Chemical and Structural Biology and Master of St. John’s College, University of Cambridge. Mary and Chris live in The Master’s Lodge at St John’s and they have two sons, Richard and William.