'The Biochemist' comes to Oxford

A group of Oxford University students and young postdocs who won the chance of putting together an issue of a professional biochemistry magazine, have now had their winning entry published.

The Biochemist Magazine, October 2010

Cover page of October's issue, courtesy of 'The Biochemist'

The 10 researchers, 5 from the Biochemistry department and the rest from other University departments, submitted their proposal to edit a special student issue of The Biochemist, the Biochemical Society's magazine, at the end of last year. A short time later they found out that they had won the competition. October's issue of The Biochemist is the fruits of many months labour by the group.

Leading the group putting the proposal together and, ultimately, editing articles, was David Yadin, a graduate student in the department. As last year's editor of Phenotype, the journal of the Oxford University Biochemical Society, he already had some experience in the area of science publishing. Although unsure what to expect from the competition, comments David (this was the first time that The Biochemist had run it), he and his colleagues thought they they should make the most of this exciting opportunity.

For the theme of the issue, the group chose epigenetics, a broad and topical research area and one likely to appeal to The Biochemist readers. 'We were enthusiastic about our proposed theme,' says David. 'It's becoming increasingly clear that there are many factors beyond gene sequences that contribute to observed phenotypes. With experts on epigenetics working in Oxford, we also thought it would be a chance to showcase some of their work.'

Some of the winning team outside the Biochemistry Department

Some of the winning team outside the Biochemistry Department

Several weeks of intense work followed, in which the group successfully secured a critical mass of contributors to the issue. Amongst those whose articles appear in the final copy are Professor Jane Mellor and Dr Sarah Cooper, both from the Biochemistry Department.

David Yadin agrees that he has learnt a great deal from putting together the issue. Although the life of a graduate student is a busy one, he says, he believes that it is important to make time for activities outside research.

Despite some initial concerns at The Biochemist that few groups would enter the competition, the organisers found themselves overwhelmed by the variety and quality of entries. Given the level of interest, the Biochemical Society has decided to make the competition a regular event so that others can benefit from this unique opportunity to develop their science publishing skills.





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