Editor, trainer and consultant in scientific writing, with 12 years experience in biomedical research.
My career as a student of science (1995-present) has been … eclectic. I started out with an obsessive interest in geology and geography (convinced I would one day be a volcano expert), and this brought me to discover paleontology, animal diversity, and evolution, eventually leading to a degree in Zoology (NUI Cork, Ireland, 1999). Attracted by genetics as the basis of animal diversity, I then somehow made the jump to a masters in Medical Molecular Genetics (University of Aberdeen, Scotland, 2002). For my research project, I worked on the genetics of bone disease (bone because it reminded me of paleontology), which developed into a PhD in Medicine and Therapeutics (University of Aberdeen, 2006). But this was a genetically simple bone disease, so in 2006 I moved to Barcelona to study the genetics of complex diseases (three postdoctoral positions at IMIM-PRBB, 2006-2013). This led me to the exploding field of human population genetics, which in turn required adventures into the worlds of clinical practice, probability theory, statistics, bioinformatics, and computer programming.
As a native English speaker in Barcelona, I soon began to get requests from my colleagues and other institutes to help edit their papers. This new opportunity to experience scientific writing from the outside as well as the inside made me realise two things: first, that most scientists learn scientific writing by passive trial and error, rarely with structured training, and usually without any sort of process guidelines; and second, that our basic strengths and weaknesses as humans have an important impact on our writing. These experiences deepened my interest in scientific writing and communication, so I decided to leave research in 2013 and start a small company focused on this topic. Now, as an editor and trainer in scientific writing, I get to work with researchers from dozens of institutes on a range of research topics in diverse fields – the perfect job for someone who, in the end, is just a big fan of science and scientists.
I first came into contact with HFP as a participant on several of their leadership workshops while doing my postdoc at the PRBB in Barcelona. These workshops taught me as much about self-leadership as about leading others, and provided an powerful opportunity for introspection that really marked a before and after in my professional and personal development.
Joining HFP is just such an exciting opportunity for me to continue learning about science, scientists, and myself.