Category Archives: Bioscience

17th May | Notice of event change to “Dr Michael Byford: What We Learnt from the Pandemic (And What We Didn’t):

Unfortunately Michael is unable to give this talk due to ill health. Please see the latest blog post for information on the replacement event or follow this link. We wish Michael a good recovery.

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On Wednesday 17th May 2023 we are delighted to welcome biochemist and microbologist Michael Byford to PubSci to talk about what was learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic.


SARS-CoV-2 caused a global pandemic on a scale not seen for over a century. In this talk, Michael will outline the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19. He will also describe the nature of mRNA vaccines and how the pandemic spurred the development of this approach which is being adapted to fight other diseases.

This talk was originally scheduled for PubSci online in June 2021 but was postponed due to changing covid restrictions. Almost two years on, we gain the benefit of both hindsight and new insights.


Michael is one of our most prolific and popular speakers and we couldn’t be happier to welcome him as our first speaker of the new season. Anybody who remembers Michael’s 2019 talk on bacteriophages will know to expect a fascinating and informative evening.

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Michael Byford received his PhD in biochemistry in 1983 from the University of Southampton before joining the University of Washington where he discovered the “IQ domain” in a neurospecific protein and developed a method of detecting phosphorylated residues of amino acids, a key step in understanding metabolic pathways.

He returned to Southampton to initiate work on neuroblastoma, a highly aggressive tumour found only in children. Upon moving to the University of Oxford he worked on the first step in the synthesis of penicillin. He then worked for DEFRA primarily on Creutzfeldt Jacob (AKA “mad cow”) disease.

Following a brief spell working on DNA repair, Michael became senior lecturer in biochemistry at London South Bank University. After a period teaching environmental microbiology at the University of Portsmouth Michael returned to his native Sussex to tutor privately.

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Join us upstairs at the Old King’s Head, near London Bridge station. Doors open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start. The Old King’s Head has a happy hour before 7pm to get you in the mood, and the kitchen serves excellent pub grub.


Please support PubSci. As usual, there is no charge for attending PubSci talks, but we have a whip-round to cover expenses. Because so few of us carry cash these days, you can contribute digitally too.

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We aim to keep PubSci accessible for all, although it is unsuitable for under 18s as we meet in the upper room of a pub. Regrettably, there is no wheelchair access.

Check our Future Events page where you can also subscribe to our Google Calendar so PubSci events automatically appear in your own Calendar.  You can find all our links on our LinkTree.


NB PubSci used to meet on the first Wednesday of the month but is now on the third Wednesday.



The Old King’s Head (upstairs room)
King’s Head Yard
45-49 Borough High Street
London SE1 1NA