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Personal profile

Biographical details

Martina's first degree is in Pharmaceutical Sciences, and she has a PhD in Neuropharmacology. Since having obtained her Habilitation in Pharmacology and Toxicology at Goethe University Frankfurt, she holds a honorary Associate Professor position (Privatdozentin) at the Department of Pharmacology, Goethe University Frankfurt.

At KCL, she has completed a second, Wellcome Trust funded PhD (Department of English and Centre for the Humanities and Health) on Dementia in Science, Medicine and Literature in the Twentieth Century. Her first monograph, The Poetics and Politics of Alzheimer's Disease Life-Writing, is part of the Literature, Science and Medicine series of the Palgrave imprint (open access funded by the Wellcome Trust). Martina is currently working on her second book, about cultural and scientific dementia narratives.

Research interests (short)

Martina's studies in the Health Humanities focus on dementia narrative in literature and medicine, science and society. She is also interested in enhancing communication between, and mutual appreciation of, medico-scientific and humanities approaches to illness and health; the role of life-writing to influence research and care; the language surrounding neurodegeneration, including movement disorders, aging and cognitive impairment; and how culture frames the questions asked by leading researchers in Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive health and aging. Does culture lead them to adopt specific paradigms, at times overlooking experimental and clinical evidence?

Martina is keen to integrate Health Humanities components into lectures, seminars and workshops for students of the Pharmaceutical Sciences, because they will have direct, day-to-day contact with patients and caregivers and, additionally, play a role in filtering and relaying information to health care staff and concerned individuals.

See here for more information.

Research interests

Martina's work on The Poetics and Politics of Alzheimer's Disease Life-Writing is part of the Literature, Science and Medicine series of the Palgrave imprint; its open access is funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Her publications include over 25 papers in the Medical/Pharmaceutical Sciences (original research articles, reviews, and teaching papers; for a selection see Research Outputs) and the following articles in the Health Humanities and, further below, publications on approaches to integrate Health Humanities into Medical/Pharmaceutical Sciences teaching:

  • Martina Zimmermann
    Alzheimer's disease metaphors as mirror and lens to the stigma of dementia.
    Literature and Medicine 2017;
    35(1):71-97 (open access funded by the Wellcome Trust)
  • Martina Zimmermann
    'Journeys' in the life-writing of adult-child dementia caregivers.
    Journal of Medical Humanities 2013; 34(3):385-397

  • Martina Zimmermann
    Narrating stroke: the life-writing and fiction of brain damage.
    Medical Humanities 2012; 38(2):73-77

  • Martina Zimmermann
    Dementia in life writing: our health care system in the words of the sufferer.
    Neurological Sciences 2011; 32:1233-1238

  • Martina Zimmermann
    Deliver us from evil: carer burden in Alzheimer's disease.
    Medical Humanities 2010; 36:101-107

  • Martina Zimmermann
    Integrating medical humanities into a pharmaceutical care seminar on dementia.
    American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education 2013; 77(1): article 16

  • Ute Burkhardt, Dorothee Lang, Franziska Mohr, Tina Schwarzkopf, Martina Zimmermann*
    Literature and science: a different look inside neurodegeneration.
    Advances in Physiology Education 2012; 36:68-71

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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