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The Department has emerged in recent years as a leading centre for the study of ancient food and medicine, especially in connection with the second-century AD medical writer Galen. The Department works closely with the Exeter Centre for Medical History, and also with medical experts on projects designed to promote preventative health-care. There have been Wellcome-funded projects on pharmacology (John Wilkins), teleology and anatomy (Julius Rocca), sexuality and history (Rebecca Langlands), and a Leverhulme-funded project on psychology in Galen and Stoicism (Christopher Gill).

Current projects include a monograph on Hellenistic medical psychology and its impact on Galen (David Leith); a translation of and commentary on On Simples (for the van der Eyck ed. CUP series) (John Wilkins); work on a monograph Galen on Maintaining Good Health, part of the public engagement project on Healthcare and Wellbeing; collaborative work on Galenic texts preserved in Syriac and Arabic (John Wilkins); work on the rhetorical strategies shared by Galen and the heresiologists (Richard Flower); and work on the Victorian reception of Galen (Daniel King).