Gene World

ISSN 2755-9971 (online).

VOLUME I (2022). Open for copy 27.11.2022 to 31.12.2022.


DNA. Illustration Helen Gavaghan ©

Issue one, 27th November 2022. Vol. I (2022).

Editor and Contributing editor: Helen Gavaghan.



Helen Gavaghan is a journalist, editor, science writer and author with 40+ years’ experience, and a degree in biophysics from the University of Leeds. The degree, a BSc (hons) 1980, was one of England's first four-year degrees. She is a former editor of Clinica, former technology news editor of New Scientist, has been acting news editor at Biomed Central and The Scientist, acting book review editor at Nature, and biomedical research policy correspondent for Nature in Washington DC. She has written news for WHO and Nature Medicine, including some of its first lead stories. She was US correspondent for Le Journale Internationale de Medicine, and UK correspondent for the French publication Biofutur. In 2009, Helen founded the title Science, People & Politics ISSN 1751-598x (all formats). Helen Gavaghan has also contributed extensively as freelance to Science magazine, Nature, and, less extensively, to The Economist , Astronomy Now , New Statesman, UK newspapers, the BBC World Service and a number of trade and technical publications. She started her journalism and publishing career as a journalist and editor for trade and technical publications, and acquired a strong informal apprenticeship during her first three and a half years on staffs. Helen spent 8 years undertaking Crown Court reporting as an investigative reporter for Science, People & Politics, exploring the intersection, as seen from Court in the public forum of a Crown Court court room, between the UK Mental Health Act and the British criminal justice system. She has written two books: one, a well-received history of application satellites, the other being the first official History of EUMETSAT. She has reviewed two grants for the Wellcome Trust and been consultant to a gallery of the London Science Museum. She has lived and worked in London and Washington DC, and is based now in West Yorkshire, where she grew up.

I undertook post graduate research at the University of Manchester (2002-04) Center for The History of Science, Technology and Medicine as one of the late Dr Jeff Hughes' graduate students. Research topic:- The influence of Sydney Chapman and Lloyd Berkner on the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58. Thesis aim to question the extent to which Chapman's and Berkner's influence maintained the civilian flavour of the IGY, and made possible the World Data Centers. Arguably, the WDC are the foundation of the Open Access movement. I first developed an interest in Open Access after visiting Hanoi in the late 1980s as a journalist, and writing a feature for New Scientist. That was in the days before the Berlin Wall fell. A second emerging theme my research was uncovering was a need to explore possible links between the IGY and Pugwash. The links were probably informal and mediated via attendance at international science meetings -- if the link is, in fact, there! I spent considerable time working through the card index system of the Royal Society in preparation for archive research of the relevant correspondence. I am also the recipient of one of a handful of the most prestigious and generous international science and technology writing/journalism awards of the second half of the Twentieth Century. I am still exploring what I should do with the tapes I have of interviews with the pioneers of navigation, communication and weather satellites. My thesis for my academic research is unsubmitted for reasons beyond my control, namely the medical abuse, and negligent and incorrect diagnosis of a plethora of mental illnesses. If I had any of the mental illnesses assigned to me on the basis of falsified medical notes I would not have the CV I have, and had at the time of the dangerously negligent diagnoses. There was also police derision (in and from the Calder Valley). In all the years between 2004 and 2008 destroyed my career, transition to academia, my family relations, personal life, and financial security, as I was dragged through Courts (acquitted on all counts) and egregiously abused within the NHS by its staff. The medical notes I collected should get the doctors who wrote those notes struck off the medical register. They demonstrate the worst of socialised medicine and in a way I would never have thought possible. They reveal medics covering for one another as they seek to use abusive misdiagnosis to cover initial negligence. My case is not the only one. There are systemic failings in the NHS and its culture in practise which do great hurt and damage to people, and in a way leaving them with no redress. When I wrote my editorial of great pleasure on behalf of the NHS as editor of Clinica when Labour won in 1997, I would never have dreamed that that same NHS would destroy my life with negligence, prejudice and abuse.
Helen Gavaghan.

Gene World is published by Gavaghan Communications. 165 Longfellow Court, Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire, HX7 5LG

Located at

Thanks are due the Octopus Publishing Group which, in 2019, paid me for a book about genetics. Subsequently to commissioning me and accepting my text, the company cancelled the series of which my book was one. I am grateful they paid me in full. During Covid, preoccupied as I was, like so many others, with other matters, I allowed the book to lie fallow. The validity of the book's content remains, so I have transferred the work into foundation of a series called "Gene World". The online magazine is a mixture of gene history of science, features and current news.