Headshot of Holly Barker

Holly Barker, PhD

Holly Barker is a freelance writer based in London. She has a PhD in clinical neuroscience from King’s College London and a degree in biochemistry from the University of Manchester. She has previously written for Discover and Spectrum News.

Articles by Holly Barker, PhD
bacteria inside a biofilm
How Bacterial Communities Divvy up Duties
Holly Barker, PhD | Jun 1, 2023 | 10+ min read
Biofilms are home to millions of microbes, but disrupting their interactions could produce more effective antibiotics.
The Biofilm Life Cycle
Infographic: Stages of Biofilm Formation
Holly Barker, PhD | Jun 1, 2023 | 1 min read
Free-swimming bacteria settle on a surface to cooperate and form a protective biofilm.
Education anatomy and Histological sample Striated (Skeletal) muscle of mammal Tissue under the microscope.
Mechanical Implant Stirs Wasting Muscle Back into Action
Holly Barker, PhD | Apr 3, 2023 | 3 min read
An implantable device stimulates muscle contraction and prevents muscular atrophy in mice.
Illustration showing an experimental device called MAGENTA and how it works
Infographic: Tissue Implant Gets Muscles Moving, Prevents Atrophy
Holly Barker, PhD | Apr 3, 2023 | 1 min read
The experimental device, known as MAGENTA, forces muscles to contract, simulating natural movement. 
Illustration of newly discovered mechanism allowing kinesin to “walk” down a microtubule. A green kinesin molecule with an attached yellow fluorophore is shown passing through a blue laser as it rotates step by step along a red and purple microtubule, fueled by blue ATP molecules that are hydrolyzed into orange ADP and phosphate groups.
High-Resolution Microscope Watches Proteins Strut Their Stuff
Holly Barker, PhD | Mar 31, 2023 | 3 min read
Modification on a high-resolution fluorescent microscopy technique allow researchers to track the precise movements of motor proteins. 
Artist’s rendition of red SARS-CoV-2 coronaviruses floating near blue strands of DNA.
COVID-19 Infections May Reshape Genetic Landscape
Holly Barker, PhD | Mar 30, 2023 | 3 min read
SARS-CoV-2 infection triggers structural changes in the host cell’s DNA, which provide a molecular explanation for long COVID, a new study suggests. 
Fluorescent image of breast tissue
Hormone Therapy Triggers Male Gene Patterns in Transgender Men’s Cells
Holly Barker, PhD | Mar 15, 2023 | 3 min read
A study deepens the scientific understanding of how androgens influence breast tissue, which may offer clues to treating breast cancer. 
Artistic rendition of droplet DNA amplification
Finally, Scientists Sequence Single Cells with Long-Read Technology
Holly Barker, PhD | Mar 8, 2023 | 4 min read
By combining two innovative approaches, researchers can now sequence the full spectrum of mutational differences between individual cells’ genomes.
Histological image of ccRCC
Mutational Signature Indicates Risk of Kidney Cancer Recurrence
Holly Barker, PhD | Mar 1, 2023 | 2 min read
DNA sequencing can identify mutations that predict recurrence of renal cell carcinoma and may help low-risk patients avoid unnecessary treatment, a study finds.
Structure of a Chlamydomonas, green algae
Drugs Hitch a Ride on Algae for Targeted Delivery
Holly Barker, PhD | Feb 1, 2023 | 3 min read
A new microrobot uses algae to transport antibiotics into the lungs of mice with pneumonia.