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Predicting the genetic future

3 September 2012
Appeared in BioNews 671

At the beginning of the year, BioNews genetics editor Dr Rebecca Hill (Beki) wrote the article 'Crystal ball gazing: an interview with Professor Sir John Burn on genetics in 2012'. Neither the esteemed Sir John nor our genetics editor predicted that Beki would be invited to apply for a position at Research Fortnight, a newsletter and website covering news, analysis, funding opportunities and jobs for the academic research community.

Beki left BioNews at the end of July shortly after a trip to Japan where she was awarded her black belt in karate, which made us all more than a little afraid of her. Throughout August we missed her peppiness, her wry sense of humour and her expert knowledge of both penguins and pies. Beki has been a tremendous asset to BioNews and a great ambassador for the Progress Educational Trust, and we are delighted that she will continue to work with us as a contributing editor.

Our own crystal ball similarly failed to show the cloud which descended following Beki's departure being lifted by a dark-haired molecular biologist, travelling from the East.

Enter Dr Lux Fatimathas, recently returned from Singapore! If you recognise the name that is because Lux has been writing for BioNews since April 2010, as one of our much-valued volunteer writers. Her first of more than 50 articles for BioNews was 'Gene links low birth weight to diabetes', and her most recent one was 'Fetal genome sequenced using only a blood sample from the mother'.

Having studied Neuroscience at University College London, where she went on to obtain her PhD under the auspices of the Graduate Programme of the Medical Research Council's Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, Lux went to Singapore where she was a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology. Lux later moved on to become managing editor of the educational resource MBInfo, at the National University of Singapore's Mechanobiology Institute.

Lux will combine her role at BioNews with a part-time role as science engagement project manager within the Medical Research Council's Public Engagement, Media and Grants Facility.

It is a testament to the quality of BioNews, as established and continued by the different editors over the years, that it attracts gifted people looking to gain experience by writing as volunteers. These writers often go on to writing and science communication jobs, and ask us to be their referees. Their success is something which we are extremely proud of, and is an important part of PET's mission to inform the debate on genetics, assisted conception and embryo/stem cell research.

You, our readers, have helped us achieve this. Thank you! However, we also need you to dip into your pockets and support us financially. We need to keep raising funds to help cover our costs to see us through the rest of this financial year - BioNews can't keep going without your support.

Donating couldn't be easier. You can donate online through PayPal; you can now text 'PROG23 £amount' to 70070; or you can send a good old-fashioned cheque, payable to 'Progress Educational Trust', to Progress Educational Trust, 140 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8AX.

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12 March 2012 - by Dr Rebecca Hill 
Genome sequencing for all, the abuse of stored genetic data and red tape halting research are just some of the issues the NHS will have to deal with this year, according to Sir John Burn, professor of clinical genetics at the University of Newcastle, chair of the British Society for Human Genetics (BSHG)...
30 June 2011 - by Sarah Norcross 
This week sees a change (or should that be a mutation?) of BioNews Genetics Editor, as Dr Rebecca Hill takes over from Chris Chatterton...
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