Duncan, Kirsty E. 1969(?)-

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Duncan, Kirsty E. 1969(?)-


Born c. 1969; married. Education: University of Toronto, B.A., 1989; University of Edinburgh, Ph.D., 1992. Hobbies and other interests: Running.


Office—University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A1, Canada.


University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, adjunct professor of medical geography. Has also taught at the University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada; writer.


Hunting the 1918 Flu: One Scientist's Search for a Killer Virus, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003.


Kirsty E. Duncan has taught meteorology, climatology, and climate change at the University of Toronto and elsewhere. In 1998 she led an international scientific team to a small island off the coast of Norway, where she hoped to exhume the preserved bodies of a group of young miners who died from the influenza pandemic of 1918. It was Duncan's hope that tissue from the corpses might include frozen remnants of the virus that epidemiologists could isolate in order to study the genetic composition of the deadly virus that killed between twenty and forty million people. Duncan summarizes the events of the expedition in her book Hunting the 1918 Flu: One Scientist's Search for a Killer Virus, published in 2003. Her team was able to recover the bodies, but the corpses were not as deep in the permafrost as was hoped. Nevertheless, tissue samples did reveal the virus, and studies of its makeup are ongoing.

In addition to her scientific aims, Duncan describes the difficulties inherent in mounting an expensive and much-publicized expedition in Hunting the 1918 Flu. In his Globe and Mail review of the book, Paul McKeague noted: "Duncan's book is, in large part, about her struggles to steer her project and meet her commitments as forces conspired to erode her control." The critic added that the work "raises issues of ethics, safety and respect for remains of the dead and shows how they play out for this particular project."



Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), May 24, 2003, Paul McKeague, "The Real Virus: Big Egos and Duplicity."


CBC News World,http://www.cbc.ca/hottype/season02-03/ (May 19, 2003), Evan Solomon, "Kirsty Duncan: Hunting the 1918 Flu."

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Duncan, Kirsty E. 1969(?)-

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