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QMUL Biomedical Sciences Offer Holders- Reading and Online Resources

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We’ve put together a list of possible reading and listening if you want to keep yourself going during the summer, or if you just want to get a better view of human biology and biomedicine in the run up to starting your degree. These are books, podcasts and newspaper and magazine resources that we think are interesting and engaging, and which we would hope you’ll find the same. Please note that there is no obligation to read or to listen to any of these but if you have time and the inclination then please jump in. We have something for everyone, whether you’re are a neuroscientist or geneticist.


A short list of interesting, relevant and engaging popular science books. There are many more excellent books out there but these are some which we think are especially good or important.

  • Anatomy of a Scientific Discovery: The Race to Find the Body's Own Morphine by Jeff Goldberg, published by Skyhorse.

You’ve all heard of endorphins, the body’s own natural morphine: here Jeff Goldberg describes the riveting story of how they were discovered and how drug companies tried to cash in on them.

  • Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything by Randi Hutter Epstein, published by W. W. Norton.

What are hormones, what do they do and how can we try to control them? A recommended read for anyone with an interest in endocrinology

  • A Life Decoded: My Genome, My Life by J. Craig Venter, published by Penguin Press Science

The memoir of a the most well-known (and possibly) controversial scientists in the world. John Rraig Venter when from teenage delinquent to battlefield medic to leading the first draft sequence of the human genome.

  • Lessons from the Lobster: Eve Marder's Work in Neuroscience by Charlotte Nassim, published by MIT Press.

How can studying the neurons in the lobster’s stomach tell us about neuroscience? A fantastic study of a dedicated scientist at work.

  • The Philadelphia Chromosome: A Mutant Gene and the Quest to Cure Cancer at the Genetic Level by Jessica Wapner, published by The Experiment.

The story of how a chance discovery in 1959 changed cancer research forever, and how the “Philadelphia Chromosome” was eventually found to be the sole cause of Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia, finally leading to a lifesaving treatment.

  • Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life by Nick Lane, published by Oxford University Press.

This is a fascinating book about how our growing understanding of mitochondria is helping us understand how complex life evolved why sexual reproduction arose and why we age and die.

  • Hacking the Code of Life: How Gene Editing Will Rewrite Our Futures by Nessa Carey, published by Icon Books Ltd.

The fascinating (and sometimes frightening) book discusses the science, potential and ethics of the emerging field of precision gene editing.

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, published by Picador.

This book tells a story of Henrietta Lacks, known as ‘HeLa’ to scientists the world over. Born a poor tobacco farmer in the USA, her cancer cells, taken without her knowledge, became one of most important tools in biochemical and biomedical research.

  • Bad Science by Ben Goldacre, published by Fourth Estate.

In "Bad Science" Ben Goldacre skewers the alternative medicine trade and reveals its hollowness. In his other book, "Bad Pharma", he turns his eye on the pharmaceuticals industry and lambasts "Big Pharma" for its dishonesty and attempts to conceal the truth.


There are some excellent science podcasts available online. Here are some of the best.

Newspapers and magazines


Citizen Science

A slightly different thing to think about but something that might be worth your time. Citizen science is a collective term for projects that engage professional scientists and non-specialists in the gathering and evaluating of data. The field of citizen science is exploding and offers not only a great way to engage the general public in science literacy through primary research, but also an avenue to engage you as future scientists in meaningful community research experiences.  These projects can incorporate tracking animal and plant species, astronomy, climatology, genetics or analysing camera trap footage.  Many of these projects are exclusively online and you can get involved during the current lockdown.

Two main websites to go to: 



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