Polymathic Pizza: Good Medicine ~ The Hunt for the Cure

February 28, 2024 - February 28, 2024
Harman Academy

“You shall consult, wherever you go, all the doctors, medicine men, herbalists, Indians…and thus you will gather information about herbs, trees, and medicinal plants…”  ~ King Philip of Spain’s direction to his court physician Francisco Hernández,, as he embarked to the Americas

Imagine a conversation between a 16th century scientist of medicine and a 21st century neuropharmacologist. Would they have any common ground upon which to engage one another? The hunt for cures of human ailments is certainly one.  For this polymathic pizza session, Dr. Joel Klein, an expert in early modern science and medicine will speak on behalf of our renaissance era pharmacologist in conversation with University Professor Jean C. Shih, professor in molecular pharmacology and toxicology, cell and neurobiology, pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences.  

  • Jean C Shih

    Jean C. Shih

    University Professor and Boyd P. and Elsie D. Welin Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences

    Currently a University Professor, Jean Shih holds the Boyd P. and Elsie D. Welin Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences. She is the founding director of the USC–Taiwan Center for Translational Research. Shih’s numerous honors include two Research Scientist Awards and two MERIT awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), each providing 10-year support to investigators whose research competence and productivity are distinctly superior and who are likely to continue to perform in an outstanding manner. The MERIT award is given to the top 1% investigators of the country. She is a fellow of Academia Sinica, Taiwan, and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology; a recipient of the Volwiler Research Achievement Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy; USC Associates Award for Creativity in Research and Scholarship; a Distinguished Series Kaiser Lecturer at University of Hawaii; and several other awards.

    Shih has served as a member of NIH study sections in Psycho Clinical Biology, 1984-88, and Neurobiology, 1990-94; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Mental Retardation Committee, 1997-2001; and the NIH Director and Pioneer Award review committee (2011-2014). She was a member of the International Brain Research Committee of the National Academy of Sciences (1995-2000). She is a current member and past president (2002-2004) of the Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America.

  • Joel Klein

    Joel A. Klein

    Molina Curator for the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences at the Huntington Library

    Dr. Joel Klein stewards the history of medicine and pre-1800 science collections at The Huntington. He received his Ph.D. in the history and philosophy of science at Indiana University and has had post-doctoral positions at Columbia University and the Science History Institute. Klein studies the history of early-modern medicine and science with a focus on the intersections between medicine, chemistry, and matter theory in seventeenth-century Germany. He is writing a book on Chymical Life in Early-Modern Europe, and works on several digital projects, including "The Chymistry of Isaac Newton."