My unexpected debut on BBC TV

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My day was not scheduled to include a spot on News24

As I headed into work on Wednesday 2nd July, I had no idea that by the time I came home that evening I would have done two live interviews at New Broadcasting House, headquarters of the BBC.

I’ve done several radio interviews previously and have been in discussion with¬†makers¬†of The Big Questions on at least three occasions about appearing on that show (one of which, tellingly, ended when the researcher declared I was “a bit too in the middle on the issue”). However this was to be my first experience of being on television.

I was due to have an admin splurge in my office, before a scheduled trip to London in the afternoon for a trustees’ meeting. The news that morning had included an announcement by David Cameron that there a new review was to be set up, looking into ways to tackle antibiotic resistance (see Antibiotic resistance: Cameron warns of medical ‘dark ages’).

I give final year undergraduate lectures on antibiotic resistance, so it is a topic about which I maintain an active interest. I was piqued by this announcement since it smacked of the Prime Minister climbing aboard the growing movement to tackle the problem (which IS serious, in case you were in any doubt), and because a call for a review inevitably means it will be even longer before actual steps are taken. The need for new antibiotics was known 20-odd years ago when I was doing a PhD on resistance to a major class of antibacterials and since then the situation has got worse, not better. Continue reading

Headline Bioethics Commentaries

Headline Bioethics Commentaries are a new series of student-authored articles reflecting on bioethical aspects of news stories

Headline Bioethics Commentaries are a new series of student-authored articles reflecting on bioethical aspects of news stories

Over at our sister site BioethicsBytes I’ve started to release a new series of articles under the title Headline Bioethics Commentaries. The first couple are already up, and I’ll be adding some more over the next few days.

I mention this here because I wanted to expand a bit on the pedagogic thinking behind this new strand, but this “show your workings” post is more applicable on Journal of the Left-handed Biochemist than over at the bioethics site proper.

The Headline Bioethics Commentaries start out as assessed pieces in a second year Research Skills module (a core unit, currently taken by about 150 students). I contribute a sizeable slice of bioethics teaching to the module and we needed an assignment to go with this chunk of the course. Right from the outset (in 2009), I wanted to break the “write an essay on…” mould and to ask the students to carry out a task that would have real-world applicability, to produce material that would potentially be useful to other people rather than languishing in a leverarch folder. Continue reading

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