Campus: Guelph
Office: 1003 MacKinnon Extension
Email: taabraha@uoguelph.ca

I am an historian of modern biomedicine. My focus is on the sciences of brain and mind in twentieth-century America, with particular emphasis on the history of neurophysiology and psychiatry.

I hold an Honours undergraduate degree in Biology from McMaster University (1992) and received my PhD in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology from the University of Toronto in 2000. I have completed postdoctoral fellowships at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology at MIT and at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, and taught in the Science and Technology Studies Programme at York University.

I have two projects currently underway.

The first is a scientific biography of neuropsychiatrist and cybernetician Warren S. McCulloch (1898-1969), which is under contract with MIT Press. This book explores McCulloch’s transdisciplinary practices in his study of the brain and mind and how scientific patrons shaped research standards in biomedicine during the twentieth century.

My second project, in its early stages, is a history of exchanges between the laboratory and the clinic in modern American studies of melancholia and depression and how such exchanges transformed disciplinary standards and practices in American psychiatry.

 

Selected Publications:

  • Warren S. McCulloch and His Circle, guest-edited issue of Interdisciplinary Science Reviews Volume 37, No. 3, September 2012.
  • ““The materials of science, the ideas of science, and the poetry of science”: Warren McCulloch and Jerry Lettvin,” Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (2012) 37(3): 269-86.
  • “Transcending Disciplines: Scientific Styles in Studies of the Brain in Mid-Twentieth Century America”, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (2012) 43: 552-568.
  • “Cybernetics and theoretical approaches in 20th century brain and behavior sciences,” Biological Theory (2006) 1(4): 418-422.
  • “Nicolas Rashevsky’s mathematical biophysics,” Journal of the History of Biology (2004) 37(2): 333-385.
  • “From theory to data: representing neurons in the 1940s,” Biology and Philosophy (2003) 18(3): 415-426.
  • “(Physio)logical circuits: The intellectual origins of the McCulloch-Pitts neural networks,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences (2002) 38(1): 3-25.