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University of Toronto scholars receive prestigious New Directions Fellowships
Date:3/22/2010

University of Toronto medieval historian Nicholas Everett and Walid Saleh, a scholar of religion and Near and Middle Eastern civilizations, have each been selected to receive a highly competitive New Directions Fellowship from the Mellon Foundation to pursue cross-disciplinary research. It is the first time the fellowships, created in 2002, have been awarded outside of the United States.

The New Directions Fellowships are unique in that they enable young humanists to explore new lines of research by gaining additional expertise in a field outside of their area of specialization. For Nicholas Everett, who holds a PhD in history, the fellowship means he can do research shedding new light on the history of medicine and science by undertaking specialized coursework in pharmacology and toxicology.

"There has been an explosion of interest in the medicinal potential of plant, mineral and animal products of the last decade. This renewed scientific interest in natural product pharmacy provides opportunities for a more sophisticated understanding of human interaction with the natural world in the past, and the rationale behind historical traditions of drug use, discovery and theory," Everett says. "By understanding the chemistry of natural drugs and the processes they affect, historical texts on pharmacy can be read more sensitively, claims more effectively evaluated and traditions better understood and explained."

Everett will draw upon his training to pursue three themes in the history of pharmacy which recent discoveries in biochemistry, pharmacology and neuroscience place in a new light: notions of taste and smell in relation to health and pharmacy; traditions of compound drugs; and what constituted proof or the authority to declare a drug effective or safe in the pre-modern world. Tracing these themes across different periods and cultures, says Everett, will make important contributions to our understanding of both the history o
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Contact: Kim Luke
kim.luke@utoronto.ca
416-978-4352
University of Toronto
Source:Eurekalert

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