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COLLECTION Identifier: H MS c474

Tayyaba Hasan papers


The collection consists of records created or collected by Tayyaba Hasan in pursuit of her professional activities as a researcher in photodynamic medicine, primarily at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Photodynamic medicine (often referred to as photodynamic therapy) is used as a technique for disease detection and treatment; it depends upon the use of a photosensitizing agent, often a dye, which is injected into tissue and reacts when exposed to a particular wavelength of light. Hasan has worked on the science of photodynamic therapy for the majority of her career and was instrumental in the development of a photodynamic treatment for macular degeneration.


  • 1935-2013 (inclusive)
  • Majority of material found within 1970-2010

Language of Materials

Papers are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Access requires advance notice.

Access to Harvard University records is restricted for 50 years from the date of creation. Access to personal and patient information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult Public Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Harvard Medical Library does not hold copyright on all materials in the collection. Researchers are responsible for identifying and contacting any third-party copyright holders for permission to reproduce or publish. For more information on the Center's use, publication, and reproduction policies, view our Reproductions and Use Policy.


16.5 cubic feet (16 records center cartons, 1 letter size document box, 1 flat box)

The Tayyaba Hasan Papers consist of records created or collected by Tayyaba Hasan in the pursuit of her professional activities as a medical researcher in the field of photodynamics and a faculty member of Harvard Medical School. The bulk of the collection is made up of research and reference files which relate to the work done by Hasan or her colleagues in the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Topics include the application of photomedicine to various forms of cancer, tropical disease, and tuberculosis; preparation for and participation in professional conferences, primarily the American Association for Cancer Research; the preparation and application or grant funding, primarily from the National Institute of Health. Records include correspondence, memoranda, research data (both raw and processed), visual materials including photographs and microscopic images, reprints, manuscripts in various stages of preparation, abstracts for presentations and articles, and grant-related records including budgets, narratives, and progress reports.

Papers are entirely in English.

Biographical Note

Tayyaba Hasan, B.S., 1966, University of Karachi, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan; M.S., 1968, University of Karachi, Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan; M.S., 1970, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan; Ph.D., 1980, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, is a researcher in photomedicine at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, Massachusetts) and a faculty member at the Harvard Medical School (Boston, Massachusetts).

Tayyaba Hasan received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Karachi in 1966 and her first master’s degree in organic chemistry from the same institution in 1968. She took a second master’s degree in physical chemistry from the University of Islamabad in 1970 and moved to the United States for her post-graduate research, receiving a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Arkansas in 1980.

Hasan spent a brief period after receiving her doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) as a research associate in chemistry (1980-1982). She joined Harvard Medical School in 1982 as a member of the department of dermatology; the same year, she also joined the Massachusetts General Hospital’s dermatological department. She still holds positions at both institutions, currently (2019) as a Professor of Dermatology at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and a Professor of Health Sciences at Harvard-MIT. She was the founding director of the Office for Research Career Development at Massachusetts General Hospital but left the Office in 2011.

Hasan’s research focuses on the application of photodynamic therapy (also called photomedicine or photochemotherapy) for the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Photodynamic therapy requires a photosensitizer or light-activated chemical compound, light of the appropriate wavelength to activate the photosensitizer, and the presence of molecular oxygen. Photodynamic therapy works either by directly destroying malignant cells or by prompting the natural cycle of cell death (apoptosis).

Hasan’s work has focused on the targeted use of photodynamic therapy on neoplasms (primarily breast, ovarian, prostate, and pancreatic cancers) as well as the control of specific micro-organisms (including leishmaniasis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). She is also one of the inventors of Visudyne, the photosensitizer for a photodynamic treatment for the wet form of macular degeneration.

Collection Arrangement

The collection is arranged in a single alphabetical run to reflect the perceived original order.

Processing Information

Processed by Hanna Clutterbuck-Cook, 2019 April.

Staff at the Center for the History of Medicine refoldered and reboxed material and created a finding aid to increase researcher access. Folder titles were transcribed from original folders which were then discarded. Spiral bindings have been removed where possible.

All electronic media were imaged using Access Data’s FTK and a Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device. Digital files were imaged using Access Data’s FTK and a Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device, upon transfer to the Center. Digital files were then transferred to secure network storage. Using FTK, records were screened for explicit and encrypted files, and use copies were extracted. Files that could be opened were sampled for content, however researchers should be aware that not every file in the collection could be opened and assessed. Files for which specific software was needed, but not available to staff at the time of processing, were not reviewed.

During processing, one hard drive (Electronic media #3711) was determined to contain out-of-scope files and was deaccessioned and returned to the donor. A zip disk (Electronic media #3707) was determined to be blank and was discarded.

Hasan, Tayyaba. Papers, 1935-2013 (inclusive), 1970-2010 (bulk): Finding Aid.
Hanna Clutterbuck-Cook
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
This collection was processed with funding from R. Rox Anderson.

Repository Details

Part of the Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine) Repository

The Center for the History of Medicine in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine is one of the world's leading resources for the study of the history of health and medicine. Our mission is to enable the history of medicine and public health to inform healthcare, the health sciences, and the societies in which they are embedded.

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