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Karen Steward PhD

Senior Science Writer

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After completing an undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge in 2006, Karen became a research scientist at the Animal Health Trust, UK. During her time there, she completed a PhD in molecular microbiology and evolutionary genetics in partnership with the University of Cambridge and went on to hold a post-doctoral position. Her research focused on the fundamental biology of infectious diseases, outbreak analysis and the development of vaccines and diagnostic assays. In 2017 she left the lab to pursue a career in science communication. As senior science writer, Karen employs her wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience to coordinate and create a range of scientific content, tools and resources for the site and provide scientific support across the teams.

Latest Content

How Bad Is the Coronavirus Outbreak Becoming?

The short answer is, in terms of deaths at least, the current coronavirus outbreak is not as bad as it was initially predicted. However, researchers are working tirelessly as new data becomes available to refine models vital for disease management.

Latest on Coronavirus Outbreak

As the novel coronavirus, that originated in Wuhan, China continues its global march, the first two cases have been confirmed in the UK. This brings the number of affected countries to 24, although all 213 deaths have thus far been isolated to China.

Population Waits With Bated Breath as Coronavirus Continues Its Global March

Whilst WHO officials are yet to declare the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan a global health emergency, China are taking preventative steps in the face of a growing and spreading caseload.

Global Alarm Over Spread of Novel Coronavirus

Today an emergency committee convened in Geneva to discuss whether or not the current outbreak of a novel coronavirus in China should be declared a “public health emergency of international concern.”

Incidence vs Prevalence

In epidemiology, prevalence and incidence are among the most fundamental measures when it comes to monitoring disease. But do you know what they mean or how and why they are important? This article takes a look at disease prevalence and incidence, what this information tells us and how it can be used.

2DLC in Food Safety and Traceability

With so many potential routes for food contaminants, both natural and otherwise, having the tools to detect them, determine the source of the problem and prevent them from reaching the consumer is therefore vitally important. In this article, we explore how 2DLC is being implemented to improve food safety and contaminant traceability.

Should Infectious Diseases Be Made Notifiable? The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

At first glance this question might seem like a no-brainer. Surely if you make an infectious disease notifiable then you are better able to contain infection and prevent it spreading, right? Unfortunately, whilst the principle seems simple, the reality is far less so. Here we take a look at the different facets and implications of making an infectious disease notifiable.

A Year in Pictures 2019

For our planet and beyond, 2019 has been a packed year for reasons good and bad. Here we take a look back at some of the highs and lows to impact our environment and some of the events that continue to shape the Universe.


Both inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) are analytical techniques important for the analysis of trace elements in a host of mediums. Download this infographic to learn more about these techniques and their uses.

Why We Should Consider Our Food Packaging and Not Just Our Food

Whilst we can detect some contaminants by their taste or aroma, not all contaminants can be detected by our senses. Mineral oil-based chemicals are one such group and are attracting increasing interest from food analysts as we found out when we spoke to Professor Erich Leitner, a leading expert on food quality at the Graz University of Technology in Austria.