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Contact

Visit Mark Honigsbaum

AG18, College Building

Postal Address

City, University of London
Northampton Square
London
EC1V 0HB
United Kingdom

About

Overview

I am a medical historian and journalist with wide-ranging interests encompassing health, science, the media and contemporary culture. A regular contributor to The Observer and The Lancet, I am the author of four books including The Fever Trail: In Search of the Cure for Malaria (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2002) and Living With Enza: The Forgotten Story of Britain and the Great Flu Pandemic of 1918 (Macmillan, 2009) which was longlisted for the Royal Society science book of the year in 2009.

A specialist in the history of infectious disease, my academic work combines insights from the medical and environmental humanities and the sociology of science. My current research focusses on a group of medical researchers working at the intersection of experimental medicine and public health in the middle decades of the 20th century. By examining how these researchers came to link microbial behaviour to bio-ecological, environmental, and social factors that impact host-pathogen interactions and the mechanisms of disease control, my study aims to historicize contemporary scientific notions of ‘emerging infectious diseases’ while contributing to a reorientation of the history of disease ecology.

During the 2014-16 Ebola epidemic I also conducted more than 40 interviews with key scientific actors and responders for an oral history project interrogating the medical and humanitarian response to the outbreak and the negotiations over cinical trials of vaccines and other unlicensed medications. Both these projects were supported by the Wellcome Trust.

Prior to obtaining my PhD, I was Chief Reporter of The Observer, Britain’s oldest Sunday newspaper and enjoyed a long career as an investigative journalist and feature writer at newspapers such as the Evening Standard, the Independent on Sunday and The Guardian. In 1996 I produced two documentaries for Channel 4 Dispatches exposing the role of the British intelligence services in the re-arming of the Argentine Navy and from 1998-2000. The documentaries were short-listed for the 1996 Royal Society of Televison Award.

Alongside my academic work, I produce animations on science subjects – my animation, How Pandemics Spread, has been viewed more than 1.7 million times on TED-ED. I also have a podcast series, 'Going Viral: The Mother of all Pandemics', marking the centenary of the 1918 influenza pandemic. @GoingViral_pod

My new book, The Pandemic Century, will be published in 2019 by W. W. Norton in New York and Hurst in London.

Publications

Books (2)

  1. Honigsbaum, M. (2016). Living with Enza The Forgotten Story of Britain and the Great Flu Pandemic of 1918. Springer. ISBN 978-0-230-23921-0.
  2. Honigsbaum, M. (2013). A History of the Great Influenza Pandemics Death, Panic and Hysteria, 1830-1920. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-1-78076-478-8.

Journal articles (26)

  1. Honigsbaum, M. (2018). Spanish influenza redux: revisiting the mother of all pandemics. The Lancet, 391(10139), pp. 2492–2495. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31360-6.
  2. Honigsbaum, M. (2018). Superbugs and us. The Lancet, 391(10119), p. 420. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(18)30110-7.
  3. Honigsbaum, M. (2018). Flawed hero (vol 389, pg 1874, 2017). LANCET, 391(10119), pp. 430–430.
  4. Honigsbaum, M. (2017). René Dubos, tuberculosis, and the “ecological facets of virulence”. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 39(3). doi:10.1007/s40656-017-0142-5.
  5. Honigsbaum, M. (2017). Between securitisation and neglect: Managing ebola at the borders of global health. Medical History, 61(2), pp. 270–294. doi:10.1017/mdh.2017.6.
  6. Honigsbaum, M. (2016). Legionnaires' disease: revisiting the puzzle of the century. Lancet (London, England), 388(10043), pp. 456–457. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31158-8.
  7. Honigsbaum, M. (2016). Vaccination: a vexatious history. The Lancet, 387(10032), pp. 1988–1989. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30474-3.
  8. Honigsbaum, M. (2016). Antibiotic antagonist: The curious career of René Dubos. The Lancet, 387(10014), pp. 118–119. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00840-5.
  9. Honigsbaum, M. (2016). ‘Tipping the Balance’: Karl Friedrich Meyer, Latent Infections, and the Birth of Modern Ideas of Disease Ecology. Journal of the History of Biology, 49(2), pp. 261–309. doi:10.1007/s10739-015-9430-7.
  10. Honigsbaum, M. (2015). Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfum: Africa's veteran Ebola hunter. The Lancet, 385(9986), p. 2455. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(15)61128-X.
  11. Honigsbaum, M. (2014). The Spanish Flu: Narrative and Cultural Identity in Spain, 1918. SOCIAL HISTORY OF MEDICINE, 27(3), pp. 615–616. doi:10.1093/shm/hku031.
  12. Honigsbaum, M. (2014). In search of sick parrots: Karl Friedrich Meyer, disease detective. The Lancet, 383(9932), pp. 1880–1881. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60905-3.
  13. Honigsbaum, M. (2014). Ebola: Epidemic echoes and the chronicle of a tragedy foretold. The Lancet, 384(9956), pp. 1740–1741. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)62063-8.
  14. Honigsbaum, M. (2013). Influenza: A Century of Science and Public Health Response. SOCIAL HISTORY OF MEDICINE, 26(4), pp. 779–780. doi:10.1093/shm/hkt049.
  15. Honigsbaum, M. (2013). The Age of Stress: Science and the Search for Stability. MEDICAL HISTORY, 57(4), pp. 604–606. doi:10.1017/mdh.2013.60.
  16. Honigsbaum, M. (2013). Artemisia annua, Artemisinin, ACTs & Malaria Control in Africa: Tradition, Science and Public Policy. MEDICAL HISTORY, 57(3), pp. 442–443. doi:10.1017/mdh.2013.22.
  17. Honigsbaum, M. (2013). Regulating the 1918-19 pandemic: Flu, stoicism and the northcliffe press. Medical History, 57(2), pp. 165–185. doi:10.1017/mdh.2012.101.
  18. Honigsbaum, M. (2013). The art of medicine: "an inexpressible dread": Psychoses of influenza at fin-de-siècle. The Lancet, 381(9871), pp. 988–989. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60701-1.
  19. Honigsbaum, M. (2011). Death in a Small Package: A Short History of Anthrax. SOCIAL HISTORY OF MEDICINE, 24(3), pp. 839–840. doi:10.1093/shm/hkr102.
  20. Honigsbaum, M. (2011). The 'Russian' influenza in the UK: Lessons learned, opportunities missed. Vaccine, 29(SUPPL. 2). doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.03.063.
  21. Honigsbaum, M. (2010). An Infinity of Things: How Sir Henry Wellcome Collected the World. SOCIAL HISTORY OF MEDICINE, 23(3), pp. 710–711. doi:10.1093/shm/hkq089.
  22. Honigsbaum, M. (2010). The great dread: Cultural and psychological impacts and responses to the 'Russian' influenza in the united kingdom, 1889-1893. Social History of Medicine, 23(2), pp. 299–319. doi:10.1093/shm/hkq011.
  23. Honigsbaum, M. (2009). Pandemic. The Lancet, 373(9679), p. 1939. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61053-9.
  24. Honigsbaum, M. (2009). Anthony Costello: making climate change part of global health. The Lancet, 373(9676), p. 1669. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)60929-6.
  25. Honigsbaum, M. (2009). Hongjie Yu: monitoring avian influenza in China. The Lancet, 373(9671), p. 1243. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)60714-5.
  26. Honigsbaum, M. (2009). The patient's view: John Donne and Katharine Anne Porter. Lancet, 374(9685), pp. 194–195. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61319-2.