culture + environment creating health + wellbeing engaged research

Ayesha Nathoo

Centre Friend


I am an Honorary Senior Research Fellow with the Wellcome Centre, following a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship in the Centre for Medical History at the University of Exeter.

I am a cultural historian of medicine and my work is positioned in the growing interdisciplinary field of the medical humanities. My most recent research has examined the growth of contemporary therapeutic relaxation practices, in relation to chronic-disease prevention, stress and pain-management, and health and wellbeing advocacy.

I have a BA in Natural Sciences and an MPhil in the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine from the University of Cambridge, where I also undertook my PhD (King’s College), and a Research Fellowship in Arts and Humanities (Clare Hall). My past major work focused on the heart, organ transplantation, and the relationship between medicine and the media. I am the author of Hearts Exposed: Transplants and the Media in 1960s Britain (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).

Highlights of my career to date

An early highlight was when my first book, Hearts Exposed, was shortlisted for the Royal Historical Society’s Whitfield Prize for the best new book on British history.

In recent years, a major highlight has been broadening my horizons and reaching new audiences through collaborating on a wide range of projects and public events across the arts, sciences and humanities. These have included leading workshops at the Secret Garden Party, Wilderness and Green Man festivals, and the Mile End Arts Pavilion. Many of these ventures took form when I was a collaborator (2014-16) with the interdisciplinary Hubbub group at the Wellcome Collection, exploring notions of rest and busyness in urban living. Gaining a Research Fellowship at the Science Museum in London the following year, to help develop an exhibition on ‘immortality’, was another particularly enriching experience.

The research I will be undertaking in the Centre

I will be extending my research to develop a new project on holistic healthcare and notions of healing.

Something about me you can’t Google!

I absolutely love African drumming and have a collection of djembes.