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Europe PMC team

 | 6 May 2014


Challenging language barriers

By Lucia Aronica, Max F Perutz Laboratories, Austria

Note: Lucia won the first ever Access to Understanding People’s Choice award. Tomorrow the blog will feature her popular piece!

My research field is
epigenetics, which means that I am interested in understanding how
environmental factors can influence our genes and thereby impact both our
health and predisposition to diseases. This scientific passion inspired me to
write about Dr. Nigel Belshaw’s study ‘Nutritional factors and gender influenceage-related DNA methylation in the human rectal mucosa’. This research makes an
important step towards preventing cancer with a cheap, highly effective, and
low-risk approach: diet intervention. Hippocrates said “let medicine be
the food and let food be the medicine” and I believe that modern research
is finally uncovering the scientific foundation of this ancient wisdom.

Lucia and guests after winning her award.

Winning the People’s Choice award was a big achievement for me. Lay people were the intended target of my
writing efforts so to have their votes was incredibly rewarding. What inspired
me to enter the competition was giving taxpayers insight into the science their
money is funding. This is an imperative, often forgotten, issue and I am glad
that initiatives like Access to
remind us of its importance.

As English is not my
mother tongue, I am especially proud of being shortlisted and winning the
People’s Choice award. After the German Famelab 2009, this is the second time I
have won a science communication competition in a non-native language. I
hope this encourages other scientists to challenge their communication
skills across language barriers.

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