This is the Sciblogs guest blog, where we run science-related submissions from the Sciblogs community and beyond. Contact Sciblogs editor Peter Griffin about making a submission - or about hosting a blog on Sciblogs.
Dr Helen Petousis-Harris blogs about vaccines and vaccination. Her background is predominantly biological sciences, and she did her PhD in Vaccinology, specifically around vaccine reactions. She worked at the Immunisation Advisory Centre at the University of Auckland between 1998 and 2018 where she has developed a passion for all things vaccine. Currently Helen has an appointment as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care and her teaching is largely around vaccination. Her research focuses on a number of aspects of vaccines and vaccination but in particular vaccine effectiveness and vaccines safety. She is a member of the World Health Organisation Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) and the Brighton Collaboration Science Board. Of course all opinions in this blog are her own.
This is a science blog, dissent is welcome if justified and respectful. Trolling and personal insults are not and will be trashed.
Disclosures: Helen has led a number of industry funded studies. These have all been investigator conceived and led. She does not receive honorarium from industry personally. She has received industry support to attend some conferences and has contributed to Expert Advisory meetings for GSK, Merck, and Pfizer.
Helen Taylor is a conservation genetics researcher at the University of Otago in Dunedin. She is interested in what happens to the genetics of populations when they get very small, and how factors like loss of genetic diversity and increased inbreeding might affect species’ persistence via impacts on their reproductive success and survival. Helen’s research mainly focusses on threatened birds. In New Zealand, she has focused on little spotted kiwi, South Island robin, and hihi (or stitchbird), but she has also worked with threatened birds in Europe and the Peruvian Amazon. Helen’s time is currently split between remote islands around the country, and the lab/office in Dunedin. You can track her down on twitter @HelenTaylorCG
Jack grew up in Christchurch, New Zealand. Jack had an interest in science and public speaking from a very young age. He completed high school and moved to Dunedin, New Zealand, where he completed a Bsc in anatomy with a neuroscience focus at the University of Otago (the southernmost university in the world!). During Jack's degree he took several botany papers and fell in love with the subject, so continued his studies at Otago with a post graduate diploma in botany. At the end of that year he was looking for a Ph.D. topic and he found an interesting combination of botany and neuroscience with a study of the effects of synthetic cannabinoids on inflammation in the ischemic brain. Under the supervision of Dr. John Ashton, he enjoyed the roller-coaster of Ph.D. life and learnt the valuable lesson of applying a skeptical eye even to the most reputable sources. John really shaped him into the scientist he is today. John taught Jack the importance of just thinking (you’d be surprised how much this is overlooked in the average lab). Dr. Jack Auty is now doing post-doctoral research on Alzheimer’s disease and inflammation at the University of Manchester under the inspirational supervision of Dr. David Brough and Dr. Catherine Lawrence.
James Zuccollo is a senior economist for UK consultancy Reform. He leads Reform’s economic research and has co-authored reports on monetary policy, fiscal institutions, and education funding among others. He has appeared on the BBC Today programme and written widely in the online and print media, including City AM, Prospect, The New Statesman, Public Finance, and The Guardian. Prior to Reform he was an economist at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) where he published work on economic impact assessment, regulatory reform, and the value of tertiary education. James is on Twitter @jzuccollo
Dr Jamie Steer is interested in exploring and challenging current attitudes to biodiversity and conservation in New Zealand. He is particularly keen on spotlighting the assumptions behind our understandings of acceptable and unacceptable wildlife, and considering how these might come to change.
Jean Balchin is an English Literature Honours student at the University of Otago, Dunedin. When she's not busy painting, playing the piano or writing essays on Robert Burns, you can find her curled up with a recently published book on science. Alternatively, she'll be bugging her flatmates about their recent findings.
John Kerr is a PhD student researching public attitudes towards science in the School of Psychology at Victoria University Wellington. He was a Media Advisor at the Science Media Centre for five years and has several years experience in both laboratory research and academic publishing.