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Izel Demirbas

Scholarship holder

Charité - University Medicine Berlin
Thielallee 71
1419 Berlin

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Izel Demirbas has been working as a visiting fellow at the Charité Institute of Medical History and Ethics in Medicine since 2022. She is a PhD student at the University of Bern in Switzerland, within the SNF-funded research project called „Governing by Values? Zur Geschichte der Medizin- und Bioethik in der Schweiz“ ("Governing by Values? On the History of Medical and Bioethics in Switzerland.") In her research, Izel Demirbas focuses on the creation of ethical norms for medical research in Switzerland, for the period from 1969 to 2014. She is also working on the history of psychiatry in French-speaking Switzerland, and in particular on the history of patient:ing in psychiatry in the second half of the 20th century.

Current research project

The current research project and PhD thesis, „Ethische Regelung der medizinischen Forschung in der Schweiz (1969-2014)“ ("Ethical Regulation of Medical Research in Switzerland (1969-2014),") examines the history of the governance of ethics in medical research. It focuses on the thematic ethics committees established by the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences with the aim of developing ethical guidelines for research on humans and animals. Within this framework, the doctoral thesis examines the members of the committees and their relations with the pharmaceutical industry as well as with politics and society in Switzerland, especially in the context of controversies.

Main research topics

  • Medical discourse on research ethics after 1960
  • History of controversies

Selected publications

Demirbas, I., Fauvel, A., Begert, L. (2021), “When Switzerland was “feminist”: a short history of the feminisation of medicine during the belle époque”, Revue Médicale Suisse 17 (2021), 1246-9

Demirbas, I., Fauvel, A., Begert, L. (2019), “Promised land or forbidden land? Switzerland, the ambiguous El Dorado of the first women doctors, 1867–1939”, Revue d'Histoire des Sciences Humaines 35 (2019), 59-96

Demirbas, I. (2017), “Criminocorpus: Browsing through the French History of Crime and Medicine”, Medical History 62 (2017), 152-154

Vita Izel Demirbas

Izel Demirbas is a graduate historian from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. Since 2020, she has been conducting her PhD research at the University of Bern under the supervision of Prof. Hubert Steinke.

Between 2018 and 2020, she worked as a research assistant at the Institut des humanités en médecine (CHUV) in Lausanne as part of the research project on the history of medical consent in the canton of Vaud (1950-2010).