Meet Andrew Davies – Webinar Host & Content Writer

I’ve always relished the chance to learn something new.

So when I had the opportunity to finish high school at the United World College of the Adriatic in Duino, Italy, I jumped.

As a course requirement, I spent the summer working in a classical genetics laboratory and, despite spending endless summer hours counting fruit flies under a microscope (and breathing more ether than is probably advisable), I was instantly hooked.

Duino, Italy

Image: The View From Our Residence, Duino, Italy

I’d always been interested in the question of why, and scientific research represented a chance to constantly work at the border of the known and the unknown.

After two incredible years in Italy, pursuing a biology-based neuroscience undergraduate degree was an easy choice and I enrolled at the University of Toronto. I completed my BSc degree in neuroscience and biology, then spent a year working in project management before beginning graduate studies at the University of Western Ontario. While at Western, my MSc thesis examined the potential connections between immune and neurological function in individuals with spinal cord injury, and my PhD work focused on preclinical studies.

Neuroscience has always fascinated me. As the “control center” of the body, the nervous system seemed as fundamental to learning and the question of why as anything in the life sciences.

Much of my graduate work involved electrophysiology, ultimately leading to a postdoctoral opportunity in the United Kingdom. My partner and I were excited by the prospect of continuing our careers abroad while having the chance to experience new things; within two weeks of receiving my bound PhD thesis I had left one London (Ontario, Canada) and was living in another (UK).

Born in Wales and growing up in Canada, I like to think of myself as genotypically Welsh and phenotypically Canadian.

Electrophysiology Setup

Image: Our Double Sucrose Gap Electrophysiology Setup

What began with the intention of spending a couple of years at University College London and the Institute of Neurology (Queen Square) quickly became the better part of a decade, as each successful project yielded additional interesting questions and opportunities to explore. Eventually, given the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, a desire to be closer to family, and plans to start a family of our own, we made the decision to leave the UK and return to Canada. Following several months traveling and visiting family and friends, we settled once again in London, Ontario, Canada.

As someone who always pursued any opportunity to learn something new, I realized that sharing the experience with others via written works, presentations, or simply meetings and conversations was the element of science and research that I loved most. So after working on a temporary contract in an unrelated industry as we settled back into life in Canada (although I did get to learn how to drive a reach truck, which was fascinating), I began seeking new career opportunities that focused on what I truly enjoyed – scientific communications.

Although I loved research, sharing the excitement of new findings, new questions, and new ideas was always the highlight of any project.

Having taught regularly throughout my career (and outside of it), my next opportunity as a contract writer and subject matter expert in anatomy and physiology allowed me to continue writing about a familar subject from a new perspective. I welcomed the flexibility of freelance work as we moved into a new home, welcomed our first child, and the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, but I continued to seek new opportunities in scientific communications to fully realize my goal of transitioning from bench to business.

Fortuitously, the InsideScientific team were looking for researchers with a love of scientific communications, and as a small but growing company, I was confident that my education and background would allow me to contribute immediately while also affording an opportunity to learn more about the business side of science. I’m thrilled to be joining the InsideScientific team as an event coordinator and content writer, and am looking forward to helping shine a light on the incredible work, amazing discoveries, new techniques, and ideas of the global scientific research community.

After more than 20 years in science and research, I am continuously humbled and awed as I continue to learn, and am genuinely excited to help others share their stories of scientific discovery and innovation.

Family time on Lake Huron

Image: Family Time on Lake Huron

When I’m not working, I am probably trying to learn something new or apply scientific principles elsewhere, be it through travel and researching local history, cooking and refining recipes through trial and error (mostly error, but it varies with the availability and willingness of test subjects), ill-advisedly attempting DIY home projects, convincing friends and family to learn new and very complicated board games (with mixed results), and trying to be the best father I can to our wonderful baby daughter.

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