Christoph Gradmann

Professor - Department of Community Medicine and Global Health
University of Oslo


Christoph Gradmann studied at the Universities of Hannover (Germany) and Birmingham (UK). He took a doctorate in history in 1991. In 1992, he became employed to the Institute for the History of Medicine at the University of Heidelberg where, except for the year 1997, he was continuously employed until 2006. In 1997 he was employed at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. In 2006 took up his current position as a professor in the history of medicine at the University of Oslo. In 2013/14 he was Leverhulme Professor in the History of Medicine at the University of Oxford (UK) and Green Templeton College, in 2020/21 he has invited guest professor at McGill University’s Department for Social Studies of Medicine. Since 2016 he is associate researcher at Center for Research in Medicine, Science, Health, Mental Health, and Society in Paris (France). He is currently Head of Department at the University of Oslo’s Department for Community Medicine and Global Health.

His research interests range from the intellectual history of interwar Germany, through 19th ct medical bacteriology, 20th ct drug development, antibiotics resistances to the history of tuberculosis in global health. Such interests have resulted in a considerable oeuvre with several monographs, numerous editions, guest editorships and many papers. For more see:



"Hospital Infections and Disease Evolution"                                                                 

In high modernity, hospitals stood as symbols for humanities victory over infectious disease, places where meticulous hygiene and antibiotics foreshadowed a future in which any infectious disease could be managed and eventually eradicated. However, housing a uniquely vulnerable population of elderly and/or immunocompromised, hospitals increasingly appeared as incubators of disease evolution. Two connected developments, studied since the 1960s, are important with regards to the agenda of our project: First the observed ‘behavioral’ change of usually inconspicuous or even benign microbes like Pseudomonas into pathogens in the special disease ecology of hospitals; second hospitals’ role in the spread of drug resistant or otherwise problematic strains of microbes. Drug resistance that today is a global health problem with considerable presence in communities, evolved from phenomena observed in hospitals and confined to these. The history of MRSA for a long time was that of a hospital creation. In working on hospital infections, medicine, which for decades had paid little attention to matters of disease evolution, had to use such perspectives to comprehend and control problems plaguing hospitals and intensive care medicine in particular.