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Blizard Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Professor Frances Balkwill – combining research and public engagement

In this World View article for the journal Nature Reviews Cancer, Professor Frances Balkwill discusses her dual career in public engagement and research.

Professor Frances Balkwill

Professor Frances Balkwill

Professor Frances Balkwill is a Professor of Cancer Biology and Deputy Centre Lead for the Centre for Tumour Microenvironment at Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London. She studies the links between cancer and inflammation and researched ways of translating this to clinical trial. She is also the Director of Centre of the Cell – a science education centre located within working biomedical research laboratories at the Blizard Institute, Queen Mary University of London.

In her article for Nature Reviews Cancer, she 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."

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