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King's College London - Health: More than a medical matter

Dr Jess Buxton

Dr Jess Buxton

Dr Jess Buxton is Contributing Editor at BioNews, and a Trustee at the charity that publishes it, the Progress Educational Trust (PET). She was previously Genetics Editor at BioNews and PET, and together with Dr Kirsty Horsey she devised the BioNews writing scheme, which provides practical science writing training and experience for PhD students. Her work for PET has also included writing publications such as An Introduction to Stem Cells, a booklet explaining the science, ethics and regulation of stem cells for a lay readership. She is a Research Associate at Imperial College London's Section of Genomic Medicine, where she is a Tutor for the MSc in Human Molecular Genetics; and she is Press Officer at the British Society for Human Genetics, working with James Brooks to coordinate media coverage of the society's annual conference.

Jess obtained her PhD in human genetics from the University of London, where her research focused on the genetic mutation responsible for myotonic dystrophy. She also has a diploma in Science Communication from Birkbeck College for which she wrote a dissertation on public engagement with human genetics, particularly families affected by genetic conditions. She is coauthor (with Jon Turney) of The Rough Guide to Genes and Cloning (buy this book from Amazon UK or Amazon USA), and she has contributed a chapter to Human Fertilisation and Embryology: Reproducing Regulation (buy this book from Amazon UK or Amazon USA).


BioNews Comment articles written by Dr Jess Buxton:

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Progress Educational Trust conference: What do we know about twins?

16 December 2013 - by Dr Jess Buxton

Twins have long been an endless source of fascination to their family, friends and society, and also to scientists. This year, the topics of twins in genetics and twins in fertility treatment formed the two halves of Progress Educational Trust's annual conference... [Read More]

Can a healthy lifestyle really 'reverse cellular ageing'?

23 September 2013 - by Dr Jess Buxton

A US study proclaiming the health benefits of stress management, gentle exercise and a 'plant-based' diet grabbed the attention of the world's media last week, but what was novel about the findings, and are the life-extending claims justified?... [Read More]

BioNews survey 2012: The results

21 May 2012 - by Dr Jess Buxton

A huge thank-you to the 700 readers who took the time to complete our survey earlier this year. As with previous surveys, the results will be invaluable for the future development of BioNews, to ensure it continues to meet the needs of our readers... [Read More]

Is there a place for race in biology?

11 April 2011 - by Dr Jess Buxton

This evening debate, organised by the Progress Educational Trust (PET) in partnership with University College London's Genetics Institute, and supported by the Wellcome Trust, marked the launch of PET's project 'Genes, Ancestry and Racial Identity: Does it Matter Where Your Genes Come From?' The first of what promises to be a very lively series of debates... [Read More]

A goodbye - and welcome to a new BioNews team member

30 November 2009 - by Dr Jess Buxton

After almost ten happy years as a BioNews editor, this issue will be my last. I started working for Progress Educational Trust (PET) in February 2000, nearly a year after BioNews was launched by Juliet Tizzard, the first PET director. In my first week, I remember thinking how useful a news digest of developments in the fast-moving areas of genetics and assisted reproduction was - and what a fascinating job it was going to be. But at the same time, I privately wondered whether there would be q... [Read More]

Dyslexia, genes and labels

06 October 2008 - by Dr Jess Buxton

This week, BioNews includes details of a study that has uncovered a possible genetic influence on reading ability. What exactly have the researchers found, and what does it mean for children with reading difficulties? And is it really the 'dyslexia gene', as it was called in some of the newspaper... [Read More]

Debating fertility legislation that affects the deaf community - a request for help

12 February 2008 - by Dr Jess Buxton

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill currently passing through the UK Parliament has already sparked much discussion, particularly aspects such as the creation of animal-human embryos for use in stem cell research, and the removal of the 'need for a father' from the welfare of the child considerations. There has... [Read More]

Should the need for a father be enshrined in law?

29 January 2008 - by Dr Jess Buxton

Those offering IVF and associated techniques in the UK are currently required, by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, to consider the welfare of the child who might be born as a result - including the child's 'need for a father'. However, the new Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill currently... [Read More]

Who should decide about embryo testing?

10 July 2007 - by Dr Jess Buxton

When the technology for testing IVF embryos for genetic mutations that cause disease was first developed over 15 years ago, its potential uses seemed pretty clear cut. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) provided a way in which couples at high risk of having a child affected by a genetic disorder could... [Read More]

Dolly row sheds light on normal science

20 March 2006 - by Dr Jess Buxton

Last week saw a flurry of newspaper reports covering another supposed scandal in the world of cloning research. No, this wasn't another chapter in the ongoing saga of Woo Suk Hwang's fabricated cloned human embryonic stem (ES) cells, but a story about the most famous clone in world: Dolly the... [Read More]

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BioNews News articles written by Dr Jess Buxton:

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Call to improve accuracy of predictive genetic tests

12 October 2009 - by Dr Jess Buxton

Companies offering 'direct-to-consumer' genetic tests to predict the risk of common conditions such as heart attack and rheumatoid arthritis should provide more information to consumers about the limitations of their services, say US scientists. Their recommendations follow the finding that several tests from two such companies gave different results for the same five individuals. Genome pioneer Craig Venter and colleagues also call for more research into the predictive power of geneti

Prenatal testosterone levels linked to autistic traits

19 January 2009 - by Dr Jess Buxton

UK scientists have identified a link between levels of testosterone exposure in the womb and the appearance of 'autistic traits' in childhood. The research, carried out at the University of Cambridge, found that higher prenatal levels of the hormone were linked to an increased incidence of... [Read More]

'Postcode lottery' continues for infertile English couples

30 June 2008 - by Dr Jess Buxton

Only nine out of 151 primary care trusts (PCTs) in England are funding the recommended three cycles of IVF for infertile couples, according to the UK Department of Health. The latest figures reveal that despite guidance issued over four years ago, four trusts are still offering... [Read More]

Gene clues to cholesterol levels

23 June 2008 - by Dr Jess Buxton

A third of people have genetic variations that cut their risk of heart disease, perhaps by increasing the level of 'good' (HDL) cholesterol in their blood, say UK and Dutch scientists. A new study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, shows that individuals... [Read More]

UK MPs debate new fertilisation and embryology laws

12 May 2008 - by Dr Jess Buxton

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill returned to the House of Commons for its second reading today. MPs will debate proposed legislation on controversial issues such as the use of animal eggs in human embryonic stem (ES) cell research and other types of 'hybrid' embryos; 'saviour... [Read More]

Stem cell hope for wounded US soldiers

21 April 2008 - by Dr Jess Buxton

The US Department of Defense has announced a five year program to develop new stem-cell based treatments for service members disfigured from war-time injuries. The new Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM) will explore the use of a patient's own stem cells to grow replacement... [Read More]

Genetics progress review published

21 April 2008 - by Dr Jess Buxton

The UK Department of Health has published a review of progress made in the development of genetics services in the UK since the publication of its 2003 White Paper, entitled 'Our inheritance, our future - realising the potential of genetics in the NHS'. The document laid out... [Read More]

DNA pioneer's genetic make-up published

21 April 2008 - by Dr Jess Buxton

James Watson, one of the scientists who reported the double helix structure of DNA in 1953, has now had his own genetic make-up completely decoded. A paper published in the journal Nature last week describes the sequencing of Watson's genome to reveal the precise order of... [Read More]

UK team creates human hybrid embryos

07 April 2008 - by Dr Jess Buxton

Scientists based at the University of Newcastle have announced the successful creation of human hybrid embryos, made by inserting human genetic material into 'hollowed out' cow eggs. Team leader Lyle Armstrong presented the preliminary data at a conference in Israel. The team hopes that such embryos... [Read More]

More gene clues to Type 2 diabetes uncovered

31 March 2008 - by Dr Jess Buxton

US and European scientists have identified six more genes that play a role in Type 2 diabetes, bringing the total number of genetic variations associated with the disease to 16. The research, published in the journal Nature Genetics, combined the results of three earlier studies carried... [Read More]

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