My postgraduate training was rather narrowly focused on synthetic organic chemistry, but in my 20 years as a science editor, I’ve often been called upon to edit material outside this specific area of expertise. As a result, I’ve learned a lot about, for example, environmental chemistry and materials science simply by frequently editing papers in those fields. However, the relatively recent advent of podcasts, MOOCs (massively open online courses), and webcasts has allowed me to more systematically expand my knowledge of, and keep current in, other areas of interest to me—such as nanotechnology, bioinformatics, biochemistry/chemical biology, cell biology, immunology, virology, and statistics. By familiarizing myself with the basic concepts and standard terminology in these fields, I’ve been able to speed up my editing, ask more-informed questions, and provide more value to my clients.

Over the past 5 years, I’ve sampled dozens of courses and podcasts. Not surprisingly, some are better than others, and here I offer a list of the resources that I’ve found to be the most useful in my areas of interest; I highly recommend the courses and podcasts marked with asterisks. (Note that some of the courses aren’t currently available  but may be repeated in the future. On the Coursera platform, you can add courses to a watchlist so that you’ll be notified when they’re offered again.)

Needless to say, this list represents only a small fraction of what’s available on the various platforms!



Stanford OpenEdx

iTunes University

Podcasts (available on iTunes)

  • Clinical Chemistry podcast, American Association For Clinical Chemistry
  • Microbe Talk, Society for General  Microbiology
  • Cell podcast,* Cell Press
  • Biobytes, The Rockefeller University Press
  • ASBMB AudioPhiles, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Analytical Chemistry podcast, American Chemical Society
  • ACS Nano podcast, American Chemical Society
  • ACS Chemical Biology podcast, * American Chemical Society
  • Nature Immunology podcast, Nature Publishing Group
  • Journal of Clinical Oncology podcast,* Journal of Clinical Oncology

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *