Living with complexity

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  • Published 20160503
  • ISBN: 978-1-925240-81-8
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

BIOMEDICAL RESEARCHERS LIKE me probe the mechanistic basis of health and disease. In a long career working at the discovery end of the spectrum, I’ve been privileged to live through, and make some small contribution to, an extraordinary (and continuing) revolution in medical understanding and human wellbeing. Using a mix of observation and experimentation, my particular focus has been to ask how viruses kill and, more especially, how our specific (or adaptive) immune response protects us, especially if we’re vaccinated.

Along with successive conceptual breakthroughs, various disruptive technologies have transformed the working lives of disease detectives like me. Latterly, our thinking is increasingly dictated by the need to engage with massive data sets. In that and many other senses, we can find ourselves talking a language of complexity that spans fields as different as cancer research, animal ecology and climate science. In effect, diverse threads of the vast interrogation of nature we call science are coming together in a rich and mutually informative intellectual tapestry. Avoiding technical detail, I’ll try to take you just a little way down that road

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