BA, MSc, PhD (UCL)
Kathleen Walker-Meikle is a Wellcome Trust research fellow. She is working on a three-year research project on animal bites and venoms in late medieval medicine.
Kathleen Walker-Meikle’s main field of interest is animal-human relationships in the High and Late Middle Ages. Her PhD thesis was on late medieval pet-keeping (soon to be published by Boydell and Brewer) and afterwards she spent a year at the Wellcome Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL as a Centre Fellow, working on animal materia medica in three medieval experimental texts. She was a research fellow on the ‘Ad Fontes: Early Renaissance Latin in Ireland’ project at University College Cork, 2009-2010.
In December 2010, Kathleen started a three-year Wellcome Trust Medical Humanities Research Fellowship on a project titled 'The Medical Category "Bites and Punctures" in Latin Medical Literature in the 13th-14th Centuries'. Bites and punctures, from both venomous and non-venomous animals, appear frequently in both medical and lay sources throughout the High and Late Middle Ages, understandably in a society where humans lived in close contact with many animals, both wild and domestic. The project examines how late medieval medical authorities formulated and responded to the problem of bites and punctures of wild and domestic animals, both venomous and non-venomous, such as snakes, scorpions, rabid and non-rabid dogs, bees and cats. The goal of the project is to understand medieval theoretical and practical ideas on punctures and wounds caused by animals and animal toxicology, as animal bites of all kinds were often believed to contain noxious poisons that needed swift attention, and how animal bites were defined, situated and structured in regard to causes, symptoms, and treatment in the learned medical tradition.