Meet Helen Robertson, the new preLights Community Manager

23 March 2021

Hello everyone! My name is Helen and I’m happy to introduce myself as the new preLights Community Manager. preLights is a brilliant resource for navigating preprints and encouraging discussion about new science, and I’m excited to build on the preLights website and community that Máté has led for the last few years.

My PhD at University College London focused on the evolutionary history of some enigmatic critters called the Xenacoelomorpha. I was lucky to go on frequent field trips to collect these animals during my PhD – mostly to fjords on the beautiful west coast of Sweden, but also to the slightly less exotic destination of Filey, North Yorkshire. After completing my PhD I switched organisms, and started a postdoc focusing on high-throughput approaches for investigating gene regulation in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis. Although this meant an end to the field work, it did introduce me to exciting new techniques, and afforded me the opportunity to work at the Pasteur Institute in Paris for a year before moving to the University of Chicago. I recently moved back to the UK from Chicago, and whilst I was a little sad to leave the bench behind, I’m very glad to be joining The Company of Biologists and certainly won’t miss the icy Chicago winters.

I’m a big proponent of making new science more accessible, and preprints are becoming increasingly important as a resource for doing just that. The preLights website is a great place for contextualising preprint literature and encouraging discussion between preprint authors, preLighters, and the wider scientific community. Whether you like to visit the website to read author comments and think about new findings, or you’re an active preLighter and enjoy contributing posts, preLights has a lot to offer. I’m really looking forward to meeting the members who make up this brilliant community and working to expand the topics that preLights covers. If you’d like to join the community, have any suggestions, or would just like to say hello, please get in touch with me at 

You can also follow us on Twitter @preLights or me personally @helen_r0berts0n