2018 Rydell Professorship

Dr. Alison Murdoch and Dr. Helen King

Dr. Murdoch and Dr. King spent a total of a month on campus over the course of the year. In fall 2017 they engaged with several first-term seminar classes linked to this year’s Nobel Conference theme. During spring semester 2018 they returned to campus three times to be of part of two team-taught class on eugenics and genetic testing. They also met with several other classes, high school groups, and alumni groups.

Dr. Helen KingHelen King

Helen King, PhD, is Professor Emerita of Classical Studies at the Open University in England. She is a leading expert on ancient medicine and its influence throughout the Renaissance and the early modern period. She is the author of five books and dozens of articles and papers on women and ancient medicine, health in antiquity, the reception of ancient medical texts, mental health and notions of ‘hysteria’, and histories of gender and the body. She has taught medical students as well as humanities students, and presents frequently to health professionals. Professor King is also actively involved in public engagement. She has appeared as a special guest on podcasts and documentaries, and has written many popular blogposts on ancient medical thought and its continuing relevance today.

Professor King received her degree in Ancient History and Social Anthropology from University College London and has held research fellowships at Cambridge, Newcastle, and the Netherlands. She has held visiting professorships in the US, Canada, Italy, and Austria and has served as co-editor of the journal Social History of Medicine and on the editorial board of Gesnerus, a Swiss journal on the history of medicine and science.

Dr. Alison Murdoch

Alison MurdochNobel Conference 53 presenter
Alison Murdoch is a leader in the development of mitochondrial transfer in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other Assisted reproductive technologies (ART). Professor of Reproductive Medicine at Newcastle University and Founder and Head of Newcastle Fertility Centre at Life, she is also one of the first people in the world to have been granted approval to clone human embryos for the purpose of research and has been at the center of developing improved IVF processes that significantly advance available reproductive technologies. More recently, Murdoch has been part of the team of researchers developing mitochondrial transfer IVF technology. She has worked both in the science of the technology and the regulation of the processes. Murdoch has authored more than 90 publications in journals such as Nature, Human Reproduction, Stem Cells and the British Medical Journal. She is the recipient of the Research Impact Award by The Guardian and the NHS Bright Ideas in Health Award. Murdoch appeared in a BBC documentary “Horizon: Who’s Afraid of Designer Babies” in 2005. She is past Chair of the British Fertility Society and a past member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. Murdoch received her MD degree from University of Edinburgh, and in 2001 was named a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (FRCOG).

The Rydell Professorship at Gustavus Adolphus College is a scholar-in-residence program designed to bring Nobel laureates and similarly distinguished scholars to the campus as catalysts to enhance learning and teaching. The Rydell Professorship was established in 1993 by Drs. Robert E. and Susan T. Rydell to give students the opportunity to learn from and interact with leading scholars.