Back to results

Dr Ianto Thorvald Jocks

Technician (Anatomy)
Ianto Jocks <>
I have a long-standing interest in both modern science and medicine and its history, and this is reflected by my dual background in both fields: I qualified and worked as a lab technician in chemistry (“Chemielaborant”) at the Max-Planck-Institute for Coal Research in Mülheim a. d. Ruhr, Germany, where I developed an interest in the history of science, before moving to Glasgow, where I studied History, Classics, and Anatomy [MA (Hons) History and Classics, MRes Classics, MSc Medical Visualisation and Human Anatomy] with as much emphasis on medical history as possible. My PhD, building on my MRes, focussed on ancient medicine/pharmacy and its reception, and produced an English translation and analysis of the first century CE medical recipe book of Scribonius Largus (Compositiones medicamentorum, or Compounding of drugs/Recipes for remedies). On the science side, I have kept busy by obtaining an HNC in Applied Science (Biology) and the Royal Society of Biology’s Technical Skills Certificate, and I am currently studying part time for a BSc (Hons) in Natural Sciences (Chemistry pathway supplemented by biomedical modules). After working in medical, anatomical, and humanities education in various roles (GTA, course coordinator, technician, lecturer), I have now joined the Anatomy Facility at the University of Glasgow as a Technician with added responsibilities for the Museum of Anatomy and facilitating public engagement.

I feel very strongly about the value of interdisciplinary research and communication between the sciences and humanities, and I try to bring this dual approach to public engagement and science communication by highlighting the importance of historical context for science and contemporary science for understanding history, and by emphasising how useful a basic knowledge of Latin and Ancient Greek are for multiple disciplines.

When not formally engaged with employment or academic research, I maintain the historic tradition of investigating applied sciences at home by being an adequate baker, dreadful-but-learning gardener, and getting unduly excited about modern and historical practices of soap-, dye-, wine-, and fermented condiment-making.

Research and Teaching Interests

  • Medical recipes and pharmaceutical compounding through the ages in writing and practical techniques, especially Latin medical recipes and terminology, Greco-Roman pharmacy, reception and adaptation of recipes, and 19th- and 20th-century pharmacopoeias in Latin and vernacular translations (German and English); interest in ethnopharmacology from the archives as a source for modern drug discovery
  • Anatomical education and research in 19th century Glasgow, especially the catalogues, specimens, and papers/publications of Allen Thomson and John Cleland
  • Natural History and Materia Medica collections (currently/locally especially 19th century anatomy/comparative anatomy specimens and the Stockman Materia Medica collection) - historical use/role and potential for modern education and engagement
  • Surgery in a) Antiquity, b) the long 19th century, especially as discussed in English- and German-language sources and in naval and military contexts
  • History of Chemistry and its impact on drug discovery, development of pharmacology as a discipline, and biomedical analysis
  • Interdisciplinary research combining historiographical/literary analysis/interpretation of historical collections and sources with modern chemical/biological techniques (e.g. technical art history, aDNA analysis, forensics, chemical analysis of natural history specimens, archaeological science)


AnatomyHistory of anatomyHistory of pharmacyLatinMateria medicaMedical Recipes