Rupert Beale

Rupert Beale is a clinician scientist group leader at the Francis Crick Institute.

From The Blog
13 October 2023

For their work on understanding and using the chemical modifications of RNA to make better vaccines, Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman have been awarded this year’s Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine – the only surprise being that they didn’t get it last year. Your share of the prize has probably been deposited into your deltoid muscle, if at some point you got the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna Covid vaccine.

On Omicron

Rupert Beale, 16 December 2021

We have seen​ plenty of viral variants, some with Spike genes of sufficient interest to merit a Greek letter. Spike is the virus’s entry weapon, and the bit of the virus that’s targeted by vaccines. If your antibodies block Spike, you block the virus – and if Spike has mutated, it may have become better at dodging those antibodies. Delta has been the most vicious variant so...

On the Delta Variant

Rupert Beale, 1 July 2021

In​ Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, Professor Challenger takes a party of adventurers to South America, where they discover a plateau filled with dinosaurs. The book’s lesser-known sequel, The Poison Belt, isn’t quite so thrilling, and not only because of the disappointing lack of dinosaurs. This time Challenger summons the same cast to Sussex, where he tells them that...


Rupert Beale, 4 March 2021

Biologists​ love abbreviations, but we often use them clumsily. What may sound like catchy acronyms to one group of researchers are tiresome jargon to colleagues in related fields. Fruit fly geneticists have taken whimsy to absurdity: MAD stands for ‘Mothers Against Decapentaplegic’. The ‘decapentaplegic’ bit comes from a mutant fly that doesn’t correctly...

Get the jab!

Rupert Beale, 17 December 2020

Do you remember​ the spring? We were said to be ‘following the science’, but the scientific advice was kept secret. The minutes of Sage meetings were not published; even the ad hoc membership of the government’s advisory group was uncertain. Now that the minutes are available, they make grim reading. A vaccine would not arrive in any useful timeframe; there was no...

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