Andrew is the founder of BrightClub in Cambridge, a comedy night that combines entertainment with science and outreach.
Plenty of people work full-time in fields of science crucial for improving human wellbeing. A lot of people invest huge amounts of time and energy in establishing science communication, engagement, and outreach initiatives for scientists and laypeople alike. Not many people do both, and fewer still do so alongside managing a busy home life with a young family. Andrew Holding is one of them.
Andrew’s research currently looks at the role of oestrogen receptors in breast cancer, for the Cambridge Institute, Cancer Research UK. Oestrogen receptors are involved in tumour proliferation in 70% of breast cancer cases. Andrew seeks to build models of the interactions of these receptors with a view to disrupting their regulation with chemical interventions.
Away from the lab, Andrew’s communication work started with blogging for The Guardian on the relationships between science and faith, evolution, and feminism. He has also broadcast with the BBC World Service and Horizon. To compliment this straight-laced journalism, Andrew founded BrightClub in Cambridge – an opportunity to combine comedy, research, science, outreach, and engagement. Andrew has an impressive roll call of outreach projects, both in the UK and internationally (these range from “Science and my Sock Drawer” to talks about his research).
Doing this by itself would be enough of a challenge, but Andrew is also a full-time dad of two young daughters.
Andrew’s wife Kim says:
“He still finds time to be a full-time father - taking Charlotte and Alessandra to nursery on a daily basis, reading them bedtime stories, playing games, and having tea parties - and has shown them demonstrations such as 'Kitchen Science' (which included crushing a can with just water and skewering a balloon) and explaining evolution with the aid of Duplo.”
Words by Martha Henriques
Images courtesy of Andrew Holding
Published October 2013