Biologists today are in the frontline of a battle with ignorance and pseudoscience, although the “fashionable” biotechnology agenda sounds no less odd: eliminating genetically inherited diseases, creating of synthetic bacteria, and resurrecting long-extinct animals. How is the role of biologists in society changing, and how does this change the science itself? Several chemists and biologists talked about where the evolution of their science is leading.

Sergei Belkov is a chemist specializing in the development of flavours, colours and sweeteners and a member of the British Society of Flavourists. Besides his scientific work, Sergei lectures, blogs about food additives at, and writes for the science newspaper Troitsky Variant.

Dr. Alexander Yefremov is a biologist specializing in gene transfer. Alexander teaches at the Biology Faculty of St Petersburg State University and works at the Institute of Experimental Medicine. He is the author of a series of podcasts on Biodiversity and he also practices contemporary art.

Dr Alexander Panchin works at the Karkevich Institute for Information Transmission Problems, where he specializes in bioinformatics. He has written for Novaya Gazeta , is currently a regular contributor to Troitsky Variant, and is the author of the popular science blog Planetarium.

Borislav Kozlovsky is a chemist, science journalist, translator, and editor of He previously taught quantum chemistry at the Chemistry Faculty of Moscow State University, and has also worked for the news website and Russian Reporter magazine. His writing has appeared in magazines such asSnob and Vogue, and he has translated books including Walter Grattser’s Eurecas and Euphories: The Oxford Book of Scientific Anecdotes, and Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan’s “iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind”.