I write stuff. Mostly about science.
I have more than ten years’ experience with news stories, blogs, feature articles and opinion pieces. And all kinds of web copy. Sometimes as part of the digital communications things I do in the academic research sector; sometimes freelance; often just because I can’t shut up about something.
I also write about issues around transport policy and liveable cities. And sometimes I manage to make up stories entirely.
Some samples from the day job at academic research organisations:
- A cancer of substantial unmet need
- BRCA testing: what does it all mean?
- Ageing genes and the anti-cancer clock
- Fred Sanger: the giant of genomics
- Untangling the evolution of cancer
- Accelerating new treatments: our Centre for Drug Development
And a small sample of my earlier science posts, which looked at recent discoveries in an attempt to explore the interesting themes behind them:
- Angiogenesis and the mammography paradox: why cancer screening can be a bad thing in certain scenarios.
- Cancer genomes: on the current state of tumour genome sequencing, and why it’s not all that useful yet — but will be soon.
- Model Splicing: on the mechanism by which several varieties of a protein can be encoded by a single gene.
- Down’s syndrome as a tumour suppressor: on the molecular biology behind the curious observation that people with Down’s syndrome have an unusually low incidence of solid tumour cancers.
I also write a bit about themes of bad science: pseudoscience, skepticism, and how science works. I regularly have to pull out my Lay Science post on Lies, Damned Lies, and Tissue Culture, which explains why you need to be cautious about claims of miracle cures and sinister health threats which cite only cells in a dish as their evidence.
And as part of the Darwin 200 celebrations, I wrote a series of sixteen posts reviewing The Origin Of Species, hoping to find something to say that was interest and also different to the comments of the other bloggers who were reading the book at the time.
Selected short stories and flash fiction with a science and skepticism theme:
- The Gower Street Cuckoos: a silly sci-fi horror story of telepathic psychopathic cell culture, first published in Nature‘s “futures”.
- Parts of the seven miracle cures of Chuck Quackenbush, a humorous series making fun of media coverage of medical science: Press Release and Smudges.
- Platform One: on skepticism versus denialism, and the methods of Spiked! magazine.
- Subluxations and Subpoenas: a Dan Brown parody set in the worlds of homeopathy and chiropractic.
On Photocatalyst I post the occasional short photo essay. Some popular ones were:
- Battersea, in all its desolation: on the corporate vandalism of Battersea Power Station.
- This is Cincinnati: on the decay of a Midwestern inner-city.
- Landslide victory: on the collapsing hillside at Mam Tor in Derbyshire.
Finally, something a bit different, with the sarcastically-named At War With The Motorist: an often tongue-in-cheek blog about streets and transport — from evidence-based policy to transport psychology, via public health and bad economics.
- Bristol’s Railway Path is becoming a victim of its own success: a piece I did for The Guardian about the Bristol and Bath Railway Path on removing the barriers that prevent people cycling.
- 7 years, 4 months and 18 days: on the train crash that led to a remarkable transformation and lesson in transport safety.
- Passive driving: an introduction to why the private car is increasingly recognised as the largest public health threat today.
- The man who crossed the road: a somewhat different eulogy for Brian Haw.
- State intervention: on our confused thinking about transport and behaviour change.