And no I’m not Australian or a New Zealander. My lovely accent is from South Africa. I am a molecular biologist and I spend my time trying to figure out why a certain virus can kill some cancer cells and not others. In geek speak, I currently specialize in cancer, oncolytic viral therapy and stem cell research. What I really want to do is step away from the bench and spend time translating scientific jargon so everyone can appreciate the amazing discoveries being made!
I have always been interested in the idea that viruses, normally the bad guys in any biology story, can be used to treat disease. During my Masters, I built a new virus that was designed to treat Hepatitis C. Once I finished that project, I was intrigued by the idea that naturally occurring viruses could be used to treat cancer. So I followed my passion all the way across the world to Canada where I started a PhD.
I started realizing how important science communication was when I first tried explaining my work to my close family and friends. This was an evolving process as my Masters and PhD interests differed quite substantially. I was constantly explaining new fields, experiments and discoveries, all of which I was still learning about myself, to my parents and my husband.
I believe scientists have a responsibility to help the public understand their discoveries in a way that is easy to grasp. This is what has driven my passion for reading and writing about the field. I love transforming complicated ideas into approachable and engaging conversations. Science should be accessible to everyone and I’m here to help with that!
Once I finish my PhD, I want to transition into a career as a science writer. For now, I will keep practising with my blog and freelance where I can.