Erin Connelly

I camErinConnellye to medieval studies through the route of science. After obtaining a B.S. in Biology, I worked in a cancer research laboratory testing new analogues of the anti-tumor drug, geldanamycin. I always have had an interest in medical history, especially the alchemy, medicine, and science of the medieval period. This led me to produce the first edition of the Middle English translation of Bernard of Gordon’s Lilium medicinae, known as the Lylye of Medicynes (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Ashmole 1505) for my doctoral thesis (Ph.D. English). During my doctoral studies, I was fortunate to join the Ancientbiotics team, which is an interdisciplinary and international team comprised of medievalists, microbiologists, pharmacists, chemists, and data scientists working to mitigate the current threat posed by antimicrobial resistance. The Ancientbiotics team investigates new antibiotics inspired by the ingredients found in recipes of medieval medical and alchemical texts. Currently, I am working on analyzing a dataset from the Lylye of Medicynes using the tools of data science (network analysis and community detection). Lastly, as a CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for Medieval Studies, I am part of the BiblioPhilly team at the University of Pennsylvania. I am very much looking forward to the Labeculae vivae project. Of its many exciting features, its interdiscliplinarity and use of scientific methods to complement arts questions are very appealing. From the perspective of my work with the Ancientbiotics team, we know that ‘dirty books’ contain valuable data, at times even more valuable than those manuscripts deemed the most beautiful treasures in the world.