Erika Szymanski
Name
Dr Erika Szymanski
Title
Research Fellow
Organisation
Science Technology and Innovation Studies School of Social and Political Science
University of Edinburgh
Address
G.14 Chisholm House High School Yards Edinburgh UK EH1 1LZ
Telephone
+44 (0)131 650 4258
E-Mail
Synthetic biology yeast science communication rhetoric wine Interdisciplinary collaboration genomics

I'm a research fellow on the "Engineering Life" team led by Jane Calvert to investigate synthetic biology in broadly interdisciplinary ways. My work particularly concerns the Sc2.0 project, the first attempt to reengineer and construct the full genome of a eukaryotic organism, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. I'm interested in how synthetic biology sits in the long trajectory of human-yeast co-working, in how we understand relationships amongst humans and yeasts, and in how synthetic biology knowledge arises as the product of many people from diverse disciplines and multiple microbial and macrobial species working together. 

My research interests include human-microbe interactions, rhetorical tools for knowledge coproduction, and wine as a subject of and model for interdisciplinarity, largely from material semiotic perspectives. 

I grew up in the United States in the Pacific Northwest and upstate New York, did my undergraduate (B.S.) work in molecular biology, and took graduate degrees in microbiology (M.S.) and rhetoric and composition (M.A.) before moving to New Zealand to complete my PhD in science communication, investigating rhetorics of multi-directional, collaboration-promoting communication in the wine industry. I continue to write about wine science for popular and industry audiences in parallel with my academic work. 

Find more information about "Engineering Life" and our work in synthetic biology on the project website

Publications

Szymanski, E. A. Enacting multiple audiences: Science communication texts and research-industry relationships in the New Zealand wine industry. 2016. Science Communication. In press.

Szymanski, E. A. Constructing relationships between science and practice in the written science communication of the Washington state wine industry. 2016. Written Communication, 33(2), 184-215.

De Olde, E. M., Moller, H., Marchand, F., … Szymanski, E. A.,… & Manhire, J. When experts disagree: The need to rethink indicator selection for assessing sustainability of agriculture. 2016. Environment, Development, and Sustainability. doi:10.1007/s10668-016-9803-x.

Szymanski, E. A. Extension resource use among Washington State winemakers and growers: A case for focusing on relevance. 2016. Journal of Extension, 54(1), 1FEA2.

Szymanski, E. A., & Davis, L. Wine science in the Wild West: Information-seeking behaviors and attitudes among Washington state winemakers and growers. 2015. Journal of Wine Research, 26(4), 270-286.

Szymanski, E. A. Instructor feedback in upper-division biology courses: Moving from spelling and syntax to scientific discourse. 2014. Across the Disciplines, 11(2). Selected for The Best of the Independent Journals in Rhetoric and Composition 2015, Parlor Press.

Szymanski, E. A. Synthesis notes: Working with sources to create a first draft. 2013. Writing Commons.

Jamburuthugoda VK, Skasko M, Operario DJ,Purohit V, Chugh P, Szymanski EA, Wedekind JE, Bambara RA, & Kim B. Reduced dNTP binding affinity of 3TC-resistant M184I HIV-1 reverse transcriptase variants responsible for viral infection failure to macrophage. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2008. 283(14): 9206-16.

Sakai A, Koga T, Lim JH, Jono H, Harada K, Szymanski E, Xu H, Kai H, Li JD. The bacterium, nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae, enhances host antiviral response by inducing Toll-like receptor 7 expression: evidence for negative regulation of host anti-viral response by CYLD. FEBS Journal. 2007. 274(14): 3655-68.

Wine writing

I blog about wine science and technology, broadly writ, at The Wineoscope.

I've written a regular column for Palate Press since 2010. You can find my Palate Press articles here

I write occasional pieces for the trade publication Wine Business Monthly

Awards for my wine writing include the 2012 Louis Roederer Emerging Wine Writer of the Year, the 2012 Shafer Vineyards Fellowship at the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, and the 2016 Born Digital Wine Award for "Best Investigative/Journalistic Story."

 

Latest Blog Posts

Extracting value from digitizing microbes in Oslo – a ReDig workshop

Name Extracting value from digitizing microbes in Oslo – a ReDig workshop Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone Nothing about the city centre of Oslo would tell you that you’re in the same country as the sharp-edged fjords that characterise the north of Norway. … (Read more)


Past and present of human genomics at the National Institutes of Health

Name Past and present of human genomics at the National Institutes of Health Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone The TRANSGENE project was invited to a workshop organised by the National Human Genome Research Institute of the United States (NHGRI) to explore both historical … (Read more)


Portraits of blue-skies research at Carlsberg Laboratory

Name Portraits of blue-skies research at Carlsberg Laboratory Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone Portraits of blue-skies research at Carlsberg Laboratory Claes Gausmann, yeast geneticist at Carlsberg Laboratory in Copenhagen, tells me that the problem with automating yeast research is akin to the problem … (Read more)


Turning research organisms on their head at 4S in Australia

Name Turning research organisms on their head at 4S in Australia Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone Rachel Ankeny and Sabina Leonelli have done a great deal to shape and populate history and philosophy of science attention to model organisms through their joint work … (Read more)


Yeast as a model organism at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Name Yeast as a model organism at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone As I scuffed my shoes on scattered tree branches, bits of broken asphalt, and varied road debris with fast-moving lorries and sports cars whizzing past my right … (Read more)


Panel on working with large datasets in the history of science - call for expressions of initial interest

Name Panel on working with large datasets in the history of science - call for expressions of initial interest Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone Ahead of the formal call for papers for the 2019 British Society for the History of Science conference (which … (Read more)


New publication: 'Sequencing Through Thick and Thin'

Name New publication: 'Sequencing Through Thick and Thin' Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone The first peer-reviewed publication arising from the TRANSGENE project has now been published online by the journal Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. Entitled 'Sequencing through … (Read more)


TRANSGENE on European genomics

Name TRANSGENE on European genomics Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone At the recent conference of the European Society for the History of Science in London, the TRANSGENE team organised a symposium chaired by Robert Bud on the crucial role of European transnational collaboration … (Read more)


TRANSGENE goes to the Fringe

Name TRANSGENE goes to the Fringe Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone On 22nd August, TRANSGENE took part in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world. As part of the ‘Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas’ strand, James Lowe presented a show … (Read more)


The future of sustainable food production?

Name The future of sustainable food production? Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone On July 18th, I attended a horizon-scanning workshop on food sustainability hosted by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. The aim of the meeting was to scope out the challenges facing food … (Read more)


The Canadian chapter of the history of human genomics

Name The Canadian chapter of the history of human genomics Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone Miguel Garcia-Sancho, PI of the TRANSGENE project and lead investigator of the human genome strand, visited Toronto and Montreal last April to conduct historical research and participate in … (Read more)


Exploring pig genetics in France

Name Exploring pig genetics in France Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone At the end of November, I followed in the footsteps of many of the pig geneticists whose work I have been researching, and visited the Jouy-en-Josas campus of the French Institut national … (Read more)


Advisory Board Meeting and Second Phase of Project

Name Advisory Board Meeting and Second Phase of Project Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone First Advisory Board meeting The TRANSGENE team presented its first findings to an Advisory Board comprised by Stephen Hilgartner (Cornell University), Robert Bud (Science Museum, London), Michel Morange (University … (Read more)


The unusual pioneer of the Human Genome Project

Name The unusual pioneer of the Human Genome Project Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone When we think about prime-movers, proposing for the first time the idea of scientifically tackling the human genome, the usual suspects come to our mind: reputed biomedical Nobel Prize … (Read more)


TRANSGENE on tour

Name TRANSGENE on tour Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone …at the British Society for the History of Science conference Amongst the sizeable Edinburgh contingent at the annual British Society for the History of Science conference, this year held in York, were representatives from … (Read more)


June events

Name June events Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone The TRANSGENE project operates within the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS) subject group at the University of Edinburgh. This multidisciplinary affiliation, and association with the Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation … (Read more)


Classifying people, practices and institutions

Name Classifying people, practices and institutions Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone Just as classifications of species, genes, stages of development, or macromolecules can shape research in biology, classification in the humanities and social sciences can condition our analyses. In the pig strand of … (Read more)


The yeast telomeres

Name The yeast telomeres Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone Writing the history of the yeast genome project starting from the end, more precisely the chromosome ends, can be an instructive exercise. Chromosome ends (telomeres) are specialised structures essential for chromosome maintenance and genome … (Read more)


Collaborating with the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI)

Name Collaborating with the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone In March 2017, I am conducting a three-week visiting post-doctoral fellowship at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI, Cambridge UK), for the bibliometric and “big data” strand of the project. I … (Read more)


The history of pig genome research enters the matrix

Name The history of pig genome research enters the matrix Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone In the TRANSGENE project we are committed to using approaches from different disciplines to make sense of the historical material, and to generate new data from which to … (Read more)


Tracing the history of European biotechnology in the HAEU

Name Tracing the history of European biotechnology in the HAEU Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone My week-long visit to the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) in Florence has proved to be a remarkable opportunity for investigating the ‘behind the scenes’ of … (Read more)


Scientific archives and the history of genomics

Name Scientific archives and the history of genomics Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone In November 2016 Miguel Garcia-Sancho, James Lowe and I attended the Workshop on Scientific Archives organised by Anne Flore-Laloë, archivist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. The … (Read more)