Brooke Guenther: Storozynski Junior Research Fellow

Author: Goulding, Robert

Congratulations to Brooke Guenther, who has been named a Storozynski Junior Research Fellow, in the Reilly Center Program in Medicine and the Liberal Arts.

Brooke is a junior History Honors major and Pre-Health supplementary major, working on a senior thesis under the direction of HPS/STV/History faculty member Chris Hamlin, about the pioneering plastic surgeon Sir Harold Gillies.

The combination of machine gun technology and trench warfare in the First World War, led to a profusion of facial wounds and disfigurement not seen in any previous combat. Gillies, an ear, nose, and throat specialist, turned his expertise to facial reconstruction. The need was enormous: the Battle of the Somme alone provided Gillies with 2000 cases to work on, with a scale of injuries unparalleled in wartime or civilian life. Gillies invented several techniques to graft tissue and reconstruct faces, while minimizing the risk of infection -- techniques that are still used to this day.

The files of Gillies' patients, along with his own personal notes and other writings on his surgical methods and research, are all kept in the archives of the Royal College of Surgeons, in London. Brooke will be spending two weeks working in the archives, identifying the cases that will form the basis of her senior thesis, which will be a study of the Gillies' development of these fundamental techniques in plastic surgery.

Because of the generosity of its benefactor, Joan Storozynski Coogan, the Reilly Center is able to cover all of the expenses associated with Brooke's research. Brooke is the first student to be named a Storozynski Junior Research Fellow, in our new Program in Medicine and the Liberal Arts. We encourage any Arts and Letters student pursuing research in medicine, in any department, to apply for research funding from the Reilly Center. Please send enquiries by email to the Center's Director, Robert Goulding.