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Erika Szymanski

Erika Szymanski
Name
Dr Erika Szymanski
Title
Research Fellow
Department
Science Technology and Innovation Studies School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh
Address
G.01 Chisholm House High School Yards Edinburgh UK EH1 1LZ
Telephone
+44 (0)131 650 4258
Email
Research Interests
Synthetic biology, yeast, science communication, rhetoric, wine, Interdisciplinary collaboration, genomics
URL
http://www.sps.ed.ac.uk/staff/science_technology_and_innovation_studies/erika_szymanski

Biography

I did my undergraduate (B.S.) work in molecular biology, took graduate research degrees in microbiology (M.S.) and rhetoric and composition, then completed 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. 

My work concerns yeast (Saccharomyces cereivisiae) as a research tool shaped through genomics and genetic biotechnologies (synthetic biology, metabolic engineering for industrial microbiology, but whose history as a microbial coworker-species is millennia old. I'm interested in how new biotechnologies sit in that 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. 

Research

Research Interests

Synthetic biology yeast science communication rhetoric wine Interdisciplinary collaboration genomics

Research Overview

My work concerns yeast (Saccharomyces cereivisiae) as a research tool shaped through genomics and genetic biotechnologies (synthetic biology, metabolic engineering for industrial microbiology, but whose history as a microbial coworker-species is millennia old. I'm interested in how new biotechnologies sit in that 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. 

Current Projects

My research interests include human-microbe interactions, microorganismal multispecies studies, rhetorical tools for knowledge coproduction, and wine and fermentation in science and culture. I follow those interests largely through discursive and material semiotic perspectives.

Engineering Life

I'm a research fellow on the Engineering Life team led by Jane Calvert to investigate synthetic biology in broadly interdisciplinary ways. Within that project, my particular concern is Saccharomyces cerevisiae 2.0 or the "synthetic yeast project," an international effort to construct the first wholly synthetic eukaryotic genome Find more information about our team's work in synthetic biology on the project website

Medical Translation in the History of Modern Genomics (TRANSGENE) 

I'm also a research fellow on the TRANSGENE team led by Miguel García-Sancho, wherein I'm developing a history of yeast genome sequencing as part of a comparative project investigating how genome sequencing data was created and used through yeast, human, and pig case studies. Find more about the foci of that project on the project website

PhD Supervision

PhD Topics

Interested in STS approaches to science communication, STS approaches to rhetoric of science, microorganism studies

Current PhD Students

Sophie Stone (with Jane Calvert

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 2015Parlor 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."