PRN Collective 2: The Scientist
In the words of Coldplay's The Scientist - "Nobody said it would be easy" - never has a truer line been uttered about 2020. With that anthem whirring away in my mind (and now the ear worm in yours - sorry) we kicked off our second session of our PRN Client Collective with the esteemed scientist Professor Georgina Ellison Hughes and our collective of senior leaders in the PR and communications world from UK, France and Italy.
Georgina is a leading expert in how stem cells and cardiac muscles regenerate helping to solve heart conditions in adults. If like me you don’t totally understand it - it’s worth watching her TEDx talk "What becomes of the broken hearted" on her discovery that the heart is a self-renewing organ and can grow new heart cells, aiding longer, healthier lives. It's been viewed over 76,000 times on YouTube and getting lots of attention beyond the scientific world. Geena has worked all over the world including a stint at New York Medical College and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in NYC - USA and has gained worldwide recognition for her work.
Now if that doesn’t make you feel inadequate, Geena has been working round the clock on COVID19 research trying to help the teams identify data patterns which will aid treatment and in the longer term, prevention. She’s also been directly involved in studying treatments for COVID19 and was involved in the first clinical study, which showed mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), owing to their powerful immuno-modulatory ability, potentially avoid, prevent or attenuate the cytokine storm induced by COVID19. Take a look at this video to understand more.
Geena sat down with us (virtually) to take us through her research, what she's seeing on the frontline and what lessons we are learning from #COVID19. We were lucky to once again have Chapple Cartoons visually capture our discussion:
We covered so much, perhaps too much to capture here - but what was perhaps most interesting were Geena's insights on leadership. You won't be surprised to know that she flagged Angela Merkel's methodical and scientific approach as world-leading. We also discussed the #futureofwork. The need for us all to take our own responsibility for our health and any risk were fascinating when evaluating our return to the physical office.
One thing that really struck me was her view, as a scientist, on how the media have covered the crisis - something fascinating for us as comms professionals. Geena's view is that the message has been diluted or sometimes wrongly reported which has had huge impact on our day to day lives. She gave us her top tips for reviewing media coverage of #COVID19 and where to seek out the most reliable information.
Top tips from Geena:
Sign up to the UK Research and Innovation newsletter or follow them on Facebook
Check out posts from the scientific community on Medium
Follow scientists on Twitter like:
Prof. David Paton (@cricketwyvern) the Professor of Industrial Economics at Nottingham University Business School who gives good updates and posts on death rates and R values and transmission rates etc.
Prof. Karol Sikora (@ProfKarolSikora), ex director of WHO cancer programme
Prof. Carl Heneghan (@carlheneghan), Professor of evidence-based medicine at Oxford
Always scrutinise the media and don't believe the headline - always check there is a scientific source being quoted, check there is a link to a report or an author of a published scientific report
Thank you to Geena and to all our PR and Comms Collective who joined us to make the discussion so engaging.