Hi all! I’m Emily and I am thrilled to be joining the LIFE Apps blogging team. I am a former research scientist turned science communicator and I couldn’t be more excited to explore science with you.

When did my love of science first start? I have a hard time pinning down a specific time or place. I have always been an avid reader and learner. But as my biology book got thicker and more complicated, I became fascinated by how biology is so simple, yet so complex. How do just two cells come together and build an entire human? How do just four letters of the DNA code provide the blueprint? And how does just one bad cell develop into a deadly cancer?

Emily Poulin.
Emily Poulin.

By the time I got to college, I knew I loved biology. But after college I went to graduate school with very little idea of what I was getting myself into. Although research was the primary goal of my graduate training, I gained a new appreciation for the importance of science communication. As a scientist I am incredibly passionate about sharing the world of biology, but I learned very quickly that this is hard to do. Scientists spend years learning essentially another language, yet we rarely share this language with our audiences. Even scientists in different fields can struggle to communicate with each other. Learning to bridge the gap between specialized scientific language and our everyday language has been one of my long-term goals.

Although I knew I was probably not meant for an academic career, I stayed in academic research to pursue a postdoctoral (post-PhD) fellowship. My postdoctoral research revolved around colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer and was funded by the American Cancer Society. The American Cancer Society not only funded my research, but introduced me to advocacy work, about which I hope to share much more.

My new blog at LIFE Apps, “What’s the Deal“, will dive into health-related questions that we encounter every day. Science can be really confusing and hard to understand. Oftentimes, the short news segments we see on TV or read online do not have enough time or space to dig deep into the research behind a headline. This makes it difficult to determine whether the scariness of a headline is justified by the research [like “X Linked to Cancer”], or whether the headline is exaggerated to generate more views.

Another common frustration with science is that it is not always definitive. A study that examines whether coffee causes cancer is probably not going to give you a final answer. In this blog, I will explore how preclinical research and clinical trials work to help explain why this is. My goal is to make science more accessible to non-scientists and to excite you about how amazing biology is.

If you’re tired of being confused about science, follow “What’s the Deal” to learn more about cancer, women’s health and gastrointestinal biology!