Dr. Zoë Dubus (PhD) earned her post-doctoral degree in the history of medicine at Aix-Marseille Université in Marseille, France studying the history of the use of psychotropic drugs in Europe.
Dubus said she was excited to have the support of the Banting fellowship to expand her research in Saskatchewan to include more elements of gender history.
“It’s important for me to speak about this and give other women, little girls, examples of very strong women in science and medicine,” she said.
The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship is a federally funded program awarding funding to nearly 70 applicants each year. The program places an emphasis on pairing researchers with institutions that best synergize with their areas of study.
Dubus will be working with Dr. Erika Dyck (PhD), a professor in the Department of History in the College of Arts and Science as well as the Canada Research Chair in the History of Medicine. Dubus said it was exciting to come to USask to continue her research into new avenues with the support of a researcher of Dyck’s calibre.
“She’s someone I really admired, and I’ve worked with her for three or four years now, and we hoped that when I finished my PhD I might be able to work with her on the more specific topic of LSD,” she said. “One of my interests in medical history was women in history, gender history . . . with Erika’s interest in this domain we tried to propose a post-doc on this subject linked to LSD.”
Dubus said her work, which closely focuses on studying substances like LSD and their medical applications throughout history in France, was not a research area that garnered a lot of attention in Europe. As she puts it, the “psychedelic renaissance” – a renewed interest in how psychedelics are used medically which began only a few years ago – did not hit France the same way it did North America.
When she began studying the medical history of drugs like morphine, cocaine and LSD, the research was the first of its kind in France. During her research, Dubus said she identified a number of women in the medical field who addressed the issues with and uses of psychotropic drugs on patients in psychiatric care whose work has seemingly been “erased” by history. Her work moving forward will examine the work of these female medical professionals and how they shaped “psychedelic-assisted therapies” in the 20th century.
“My work in this post-doc is to say, OK, these women existed, and they have a strong importance in the field of psychedelics in the ’50s and ’60s, but also psychiatrists now could benefit from some of their techniques that have been forgotten today,” Dubus said.
Dubus credited the Banting fellowship for giving her the support to move from France to Saskatoon to work at USask, and said she looks forward to continuing her research in North America.