Home England government Breaking it down: UKHSA scientist is among Nature’s top 10 in 2021

Breaking it down: UKHSA scientist is among Nature’s top 10 in 2021


Chosen by the editors of Nature, the top 10 explores key developments in science and rewards people who, along with their colleagues, have helped make amazing discoveries and bring attention to crucial issues.

Meaghan has been credited with helping spread crucial information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) by breaking down the agency’s science reports into easy-to-understand social media posts. After spending his first 10 years at Public Health England (EPS) followed HIV, Meaghan was drafted into the COVID-19 response in 2020.

Since the start of the pandemic, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA, Previously EPS) brought together the UK’s unrivaled genomics, epidemiology and virology expertise to monitor and better understand SARS-CoV-2 variants. By regularly posting detailed technical briefings, the latest data and understanding of the virus is made freely available to the rest of the world.

Science data is complex by nature, and it was Meaghan’s ability to distill and present cutting-edge discoveries in content accessible on Twitter that secured him his place in the top 10, alongside the scientist who placed a rover on Mars, and a former UN Special Rapporteur credited with protecting the rights of indigenous communities around the world.

Speaking when the list was released, Meaghan said:

I am very touched to be included and it is a huge honor to be recognized. Behind the many reports we publish is a large team of scientists working tirelessly. In January, I got the idea to showcase our collective work, to break down the results for an unscientific audience, and it quickly became clear that people valued insight.

My day job is always very focused on understanding the behavior of the coronavirus and the scientific basis upon which public health decisions are made, to find a way to overcome this unprecedented challenge and protect as many lives as possible.

In my free time, I will continue to help people understand the science and make informed decisions. The best advice I can give now is to go get your shot, whether it’s a first, a second shot, or a booster shot.

Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor at UKHSA, added:

I am incredibly proud that Meaghan’s commitment to communicating science is celebrated in this way. I know that all the scientists and researchers working at UKHSA during the pandemic welcome this recognition. Showcasing their work, her publications have been both a great source of information and comfort to the public and the media.