Despite their importance for understanding the human genome and more generally human health, the specific questions addressed by our research are often rather abstract from the experience of the general public. Because of this inherent challenge in making this research understood by the people that ultimately fund it, we strive to communicate our work in an engaging but accurate way to those without specialist knowledge. We contribute time and resources to the Edinburgh International Science Festival, undertake educational visits to schools and communicate our important findings to the popular media.
Edinburgh International Science Festival
Since 2011 the Taylor lab has been a regular contributor to the Edinburgh International Science Festival. Sara, Jo and Sophie have helped run several of the MRC and Edinburgh University sponsored science communication stands aimed at 5 to 14 year olds. Sara was a section coordinator in 2012 and 2013 and Martin led an evening of science based discussion for adults in 2012.
So far we have only undertaken one school visit – talking to three class of P4 students (8 to 9 year olds) about genetics and molecular biology. We are happy to consider doing more in the future.
The press and popular media
Several of our published results have been picked up and reported by the popular media. This includes the first discovery of a demonstrably functional and entirely new human gene and the demonstration of how that sequence evolved. This was the basis for a substantial article in The Times and was secondarily reported by over 100 other media outlets and an interview for BBC News.
The work of the lab, and particularly the mechanisms of mutagenesis has been profiled by Lab Times.