Date of release: Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dr Lauren PecorinoDr Lauren Pecorino at the University of Greenwich has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award in recognition of her efforts to explain science to the public.

The Society of Biology, an organisation which encourages public interest in the life sciences and frequently advises on government policy in these areas, has shortlisted Dr Pecorino for a Science Communication Award.

These annual prizes reward scientists from UK universities and other institutes who go beyond their ‘day jobs’ to take their work into the wider community. In particular, it looks for those who “inform, enthuse and engage” the public through activities such as talks, information events, articles, hands-on demonstrations and school visits.

Dr Pecorino is a Principal Lecturer in Cancer Biology in the university’s Faculty of Engineering & Science, and is the author of two highly successful books: The Molecular Biology of Cancer, and Why Millions Survive Cancer, both published by Oxford University Press. She says: “To be shortlisted is a true accolade. I have explored different media for communicating science news to the public such as radio, lectures, books and blogs, and it is rewarding to be recognised by such a prestigious professional body.”

Among her regular activities to “bring science to people”, as she puts it, Dr Pecorino has held free public events, both in the UK and in the USA, to explain how people can reduce their risks of cancer through healthier lifestyle choices. She has written a series of online articles for schoolchildren about science – one, for example, explains the basics of stem cells – and she regularly does radio interviews on topics of healthy living and tackling cancer.

Her blog for the science section of the Huffington Post, one of the largest international news sites, covers various issues: her latest post was about the safety of the cervical cancer vaccine, where she was questioning its poor uptake in the USA. “This led to a lively debate on the impact of vaccines, with many of the comments thanking me for raising awareness of a vaccine that can save lives,” she adds.

“The audience for my work has ranged from school and university students to the general public, and to those who work in healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. But the main focus, whatever the age group, is usually on the science behind a disease that touches everyone – cancer.”

The Society of Biology’s awards ceremony takes place on 17 October and is part of Biology Week, during which Dr Pecorino will be attending a Parliamentary reception.

The Molecular Biology of Cancer, now on its third edition, has been rated by Amazon as its bestselling textbook in its ‘Pathology’ section.

Story by Public Relations