About Alison

Alison Li
Photo: Diana Renelli

Alison Li is an historian of science and medicine who writes about medical research, hormones, and the culture in which they were shaped. Her current project is Wondrous Transformations, the story of Dr. Harry Benjamin (1885-1986), best known for his pioneering work in transgender medicine. It will be published by University of North Carolina Press.

Alison gained a visceral feel for hormone research during early stints as a summer student in a research lab in Calgary while studying for her undergraduate degree in biochemistry (McGill University, BSc). Cherished memories of that time include the weekly excursions to scoop olive-sized pituitary glands out of massive, bloody cow skulls still warm from the slaughterhouse. Discovering that she preferred her digging in libraries and dusty archives, she continued on to graduate work in the history and philosophy of science and technology at the University of Toronto (MA, PhD) and post-doctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies at York University, Toronto.

She takes great pleasure in bringing the wonder of science to a non-specialist audience, especially those who feel that science is not for them. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two children.