Fran Balkwill, Professor of Cancer Biology at Barts Cancer Institute (BCI), Queen Mary University of London, recently wrote a World View article for the journal Nature Reviews Cancer, discussing her dual career in public engagement and research.
Professor Balkwill is Deputy Centre Lead for BCI’s Centre for Tumour Microenvironment, where her research group focuses on the links between cancer and inflammation and ways of translating knowledge of cancer biology into new biological treatments for cancer. Professor Balkwill is also Director of Centre of the Cell - a science education centre located within working biomedical research laboratories at the Blizard Institute, Queen Mary.
In her article for Nature Reviews Cancer, Professor Balkwill discusses writing science books for children, her outreach work with Centre of the Cell, advice for those considering a similar initiative, and her view on the future of informal science learning.
Professor Balkwill says:
"The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded scientists and clinicians about the importance of public engagement with science. One way to make this routine, and improve engagement skills of staff and students, is to embed an informal science learning centre within a research institute.
"Throughout my career I have combined cancer research with public engagement - this has been highly synergistic, putting my research in context and improving my communication skills."