Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology – Wednesday 6 March 2013

Learning through genetic inheritance and discovering outcomes made available through twin research is a well used and productive academic formula for advancing our knowledge of disorders and disease.  However, this comparative research technique has been finely tuned over many years across the natural and human sciences with the controlled methodology of twin research able to yield a considerable wealth of information through empirical testing supported by the use of non-experimental questionnaires.

Having briefly met the team from Kings College on a previous visit to St Thomas’ Hospital, I was very pleased to look for ways of assisting Dr Kirsten Ward and her colleagues in the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, in trying to find more twins for their register, specific to an 18 – 25 age range across all ethnicities.   Their task is to trawl opportunities across all seven London boroughs south of the river in putting together a far deeper research analysis of what their original data had revealed through applying twin research techniques to a far greater representative sample of this younger age range in our multi-cultural capital.

With the experience of gigging with Ragz CV and Junior Booker at the Brixton Jamm last year, I was keen that Dr Ward found a slot in her busy schedule to welcome us to their department and the result was a meeting of minds from very different ends of a research learning continuum. It came as no surprise to be told that the age range and ethnicities that we needed were off the radar of research involvement and therefore, our opportunities were confined to gaining the confidence of young people, using what social scientists used to refer to as participant observation.  Here young performers like Ragz and Junior could display the benefits of positive rap, whilst projecting a comedy style that allowed us to laugh at our apprehensions and forget about the predictable reaction in turning down the volume when asked to help find those valuable twins who could be instrumental in producing a research breakthrough for those living and working in our seven London boroughs south of the river. 

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