Dr Jesse Olszynko-Gryn

Strathclyde Chancellor's Fellow


Personal statement

I am a Chancellor's Fellow in History of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Strathclyde. My research interests are diverse, but converge on the topics of reproductive health, medical technology, and media history.

My first book, A Woman's Right to Know: Pregnancy Testing in Twentieth-Century Britain, will reconstruct for the first time the remarkable transformation of pregnancy testing from an esoteric laboratry service to a commonplace of everyday life.

Linked to this book project, I am collaborating with researchers around Europe on the contested history of the drug Primodos, a 'hormone pregnancy test' associated with birth defects akin to those caused by thalidomide.

A second collaborative project explores the role of film and other media in the production, communication and contestation of scientific and medical knowledge about biological reproduction (conception, embryological development, birth) in humans and other species.

I have published articles and book chapters on the history of pregnancy testing, population control, science fiction, feminism, product placement, health policy, contraception, and abortion.


Reproductive politics in twentieth-century France and Britain
Olszynko-Gryn Jesse, Rusterholz Caroline
Medical History Vol 63, pp. 117-133 (2019)
Special issue - Reproductive politics in twentieth-century France and Britain
Olszynko-Gryn Jesse, Rusterholz Caroline
Medical History Vol 63, pp. 117-229 (2019)
Technologies of contraception and abortion
Olszynko-Gryn Jesse
Reproduction (2018) (2018)
A historical argument for regulatory failure in the case of Primodos and other 'hormone pregnancy tests'
Olszynko-Gryn Jesse, Bjørvik Eira, Weßel Merle, Jülich Solveig, Jean Cyrille
Reproductive Biomedicine & Society Online Vol 6, pp. 34-44 (2018)
Malthus at the movies : science, cinema, and activism around Z.P.G. and Soylent Green
Olszynko-Gryn Jesse, Ellis Patrick
JCMS: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies Vol 58, pp. 47-69 (2018)
'A machine for recreating life' : an introduction to reproduction on film
Olszynko-Gryn Jesse, Ellis Patrick
British Journal for the History of Science Vol 50, pp. 383-409 (2017)

more publications

Professional activities

History of Sodium Valproate, the teratogenic anti-convulsant drug
Causalité en process: L’affaire Primodos’, Gouverner le ‘progrès’ et ses dégâts
Reproductive medicine
L’affaire Primodos: de dangereuses hormones, des femmes enceintes et le spectre des anomalies congénitales

more professional activities


Risky hormones, pregnant patients and the contested science of birth defects: the rise and fall of hormone pregnancy tests in the FRG and UK, 1950-81
Olszynko-Gryn, Jesse (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2023

more projects