Some sporadic insights into academia.
Science is Fascinating.
Scientists are slightly peculiar.
Here are the views of one of them.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Welcome to my Blog.

Beating Sniffles

What do I actually do? I am a university academic working in research. In brief, I am trying to cure the common cold, in some ways the classic problem – as in ‘they can put monkeys into space but they can’t cure the common cold’ (whoever ‘they’ are). Why is this important? Simply put, everyone gets colds! There are a number of infections that are fascinating and deadly, but it is extremely unlikely that those of you reading this have had Lassa fever or bubonic plague. It is fairly unlikely that you have had one of the big three - malaria, HIV or tuberculosis, but all of you had some form of cold, acute upper respiratory tract infection to those of us in the know(se). More importantly respiratory tract infections are the main cause of death by infectious disease – for example pneumonia. Also some groups of people, for example asthmatics, the elderly, pregnant women and babies, are much more susceptible to these infections and no one likes sick babies. Lung disease has a large economic impact, lung disease the NHS approximately £6 billion in 2006 (British Thoracic Society figures), the same as two new aircraft carriers. In addition to direct costs to the NHS, lung infection costs money in time off work directly because of infection and time off work looking after dependants (babies and the elderly – the very people who get sick the most). Common colds also contribute to the incorrect prescription of antibiotics, ¾ of colds are caused by viruses which are unaffected by antibiotics and the more antibiotics are misused, the less powerful they are when they are really needed. Finally, though colds in most people they are mild, respiratory infections can cause major pandemics for example influenza, SARS and MERS infecting millions of people and cause significant levels of mortality. So you can see this is a valid area for research, that impacts all of our lives.

The Future

What’s to come? My plan is to ramble on about subjects of interest to me on a semi-irregular basis. I will also describe the AMAZING research I do. I will also try and share some insight/ spread disinformation about the life of a lecturer. The following subjects may or may not be included in the future, funding, working parents, translational research, the impact of student fees on the culture of learning in higher education. Alternatively I may just talk about my lunch.


  1. What, no comments? Not even from your Mum?
    As a chemist I'm here trying to defend my Google place against the ski instructor and the wildlife photographer. (

    1. I have the massive advantage of a weird surname, and have (very satisfactorily) not got the 6 top slots on google.

      Lack of comments is not so bad, when I have had comments on other sites (e.g. the guardian) they have been quite mean.

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