Get to know Rachel Perrin, Editorial Director at Research Publishing International. She’s been working with Research Outreach for the last four years and is truly passionate about what we do here.
So, can you start with telling us a bit about your background?
I’ve always had a passion for science. I studied physiology and did my PhD at Bristol University before taking up a post-doc position at the University of California at Davis. I was in Sacramento for two years, and it was a totally amazing experience. I was part of a lab doing research on microvasculature. It was an incredibly vibrant place to work with a great team of international students.
Sacramento is an amazing city! It’s surrounded by so many fabulous places: the glorious Pacific coast, San Francisco, Napa Valley, Yosemite National Park, even the mountains at Lake Tahoe – a popular ski resort. Working out there was invaluable for me – I made some amazing friendships, but it also crystallised that I wanted to use my science background although not in research. So, when I returned to the UK I worked for a charity doing medical and scientific communication for about ten years.
I then started freelance writing for Research Publishing International (RPI), which suits me down to the ground. Here I can use my knowledge to help get complex concepts across to the public, and I love that I get to use my scientific background every day!
What makes RPI different from places that you’ve worked before?
I’ve been lucky enough to work in a number of fantastic places with amazing colleagues, but I’d have to say that it’s the sheer breadth of what we do here that makes it so interesting. We have a group of talented writers who are experts in their fields and so skilled at bringing science alive and making it relevant to a non-technical audience. The editorial team has grown a lot since I started, and I feel lucky to be working with such a committed team – from the writers and editorial team and beyond, to the designers and production teams.
The other thing that I love is how closely we work with each research team throughout the process of creating their article. I feel privileged to be able to really connect with the teams behind some amazing research from the get-go, and be a part of the project all the way through to getting it out to our audiences.
Do you have a favourite project that really stands out to you?
That’s difficult to say! I’ve worked on so many fascinating projects. It’s hard to narrow it down to one. I tend to prefer the articles that feature health and medicine as that’s the field that I’m more familiar with, but there is one standout project that felt like we really achieved our goal of bringing science alive. Back in 2020, we worked with Rick Godley, MD, on an article about sinus migraines.
The aim of our collaboration was to raise awareness of sinus migraines which are often misdiagnosed, resulting in overuse of antibiotics. Until our article, there were no existing images of the sinus nerves to explain to patients what was happening. We created bespoke imagery, working closely with Rick to make sure that we were portraying the intricate sinus nerve anatomy accurately – something that hadn’t been done before!
And what about outside work?
I love hanging out with my wonderful family – my husband, our twin boys who are in their teens now, and our ten-year old daughter. We enjoy getting out into the countryside along with our crazy spaniel, Max, camping or just spending the day together.
I love being outside – and now we have Max, my typical start to the weekend is a nice long early morning dog walk with friends. There’s nothing quite like getting outside in the fresh air and having a good chat. Plus, I get to feel slightly smug when I get home and feel like I’ve already had a good start to the day!
I also enjoy playing the clarinet in my local wind band. It’s so good to share music with others, and I also find it an amazing way to recharge the batteries – having to focus on the music and not think about anything else.