Lakshmi Krishnan earned her MD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and her DPhil (PhD.) in English Literature from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. Her dissertation considered the Victorian poet A.C. Swinburne and his relationship to genre in the long nineteenth century. She completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Duke University, where she was also a Faculty Affiliate at the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities, & History of Medicine. She is currently a fellow in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Institute of History of Medicine. Additionally, she practices as a hospitalist on the Johns Hopkins Hospital Inpatient Service.
Lakshmi is at work on a book about the intellectual history and epistemology of diagnosis and puzzle solving across genres, from detective fiction to medical case reports. She is interested in the notion that the history of diagnosis is central to the history of disease, and that the process of diagnosis is an equally dynamic and evolving generic entity, influenced by history, technology, narrative, ethics, pedagogy, and trends, and which can be excavated in “diagnostic” texts of many different sorts viz. case histories, murder mysteries, true crime narratives, and courtroom testimonials. This work has clinical relevance in responding to emerging disease or medical mystery on a global scale, the diagnostic process in the face of new technologies, and the immediate problem of diagnostic error in clinical practice.
More broadly, she is engaged with the relationship between medicine and the humanities writ large. Her research emphasizes deploying the tools of literary and historical criticism to examine medical issues, querying the ways in which the cognitive processes of empirical or clinical deduction and traditionally “humanistic” discursive analysis and critical thinking interact. She has published a number of articles on intertextuality and aesthetic influences on the Victorian period (appearing in Modern Language Review and Victorian Literature and Culture among others), on anger and cognition in Victorian poetry (Victorian Poetry Volume 52, 2014), and mental illness in the nineteenth-century novel (Journal of Brontë Studies Volume 32, 2007).