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Johnjoe McFadden

Johnjoe McFadden
Born (1956-05-17) 17 May 1956
Donegal, Ireland
Residence  UK
Fields Biologist
Institutions University of Surrey
St Mary's Hospital Medical School
Alma mater
Imperial College London
Doctoral advisor Ken Buck
Known for Diagnosis of meningitis
Quantum biology
Systems biology

Johnjoe McFadden (born 17 May 1956 in Donegal, Ireland) is an Anglo-Irish scientist, academic and writer. He is Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Surrey, United Kingdom.


  • Life 1
  • Writing 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


McFadden was born in Donegal, Ireland but raised in the University of Surrey in Guildford, UK.

For more than a decade, McFadden has researched the genetics of microbes such as the agents of tuberculosis and meningitis and invented a test for the diagnosis of meningitis. He has published more than 100 articles in scientific journals on subjects as wide-ranging as bacterial genetics, tuberculosis, idiopathic diseases and computer modelling of evolution. He has contributed to more than a dozen books and has edited a book on the genetics of mycobacteria. He produced a widely reported artificial life computer model which modelled evolution in organisms.

McFadden has lectured extensively in the UK, Europe, the US and Japan and his work has been featured on radio, television and national newspaper articles particularly for the Guardian. His present post, which he has held since 2001, is Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Surrey. Living in London, he is married and has one son.


McFadden wrote the popular science book, Quantum Evolution on the concept of quantum evolution.[1] The book examines the role of quantum mechanics in life, evolution and consciousness.

In 2006 McFadden co-edited the book, Human Nature: Fact and Fiction on the insights of both science and literature on human nature, with contributions from Ian McEwan, Philip Pullman, Steven Pinker, A.C. Grayling and others. [2]

in 2014 McFadden co-wrote the popular science book, "Life on the Edge: The Coming Age of Quantum Biology", in which he and Jim Al-Khalili further explore quantum biology and particularly recent findings in photosynthesis, enzyme catalysis, avian navigation, olfaction, mutation and neurobiology. [3] The book received excellent reviews, for example:

"'Life on the Edge’ gives the clearest account I’ve ever read of the possible ways in which the very small events of the quantum world can affect the world of middle-sized living creatures like us. With great vividness and clarity it shows how our world is tinged, even saturated, with the weirdness of the quantum." (Philip Pullman)

"Hugely ambitious ... the skill of the writing provides the uplift to keep us aloft as we fly through the strange and spectacular terra incognita of genuinely new science." (Tom Whipple The Times)

McFadden regularly writes articles for The Guardian newspaper in the UK (,[4] on topics as varied as quantum mechanics, evolution and genetically modified crops, and has reviewed books there. The Washington Post and Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung have also published articles written by him.

See also


  1. ^ McFadden, J. (2000). Quantum Evolution.  
  2. ^ Headlam Wells, Robin; McFadden, Johnjoe (2006). Human Nature: Fact and Fiction. London: Bloomsbury.  
  3. ^ Al-Khalili, Jim; McFadden, Johnjoe (2014 (UK), 2015 (US)). Life on the Edge: The Coming Age of Quantum Biology. London: Bantam Press.  
  4. ^ McFadden, Johnjoe. "Articles". 

External links

  • Johnjoe McFadden's Homepage
  • Johnjoe McFadden's interviewMachines Like Us
  • [2] Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, UK, Professor Johnjoe McFadden
  • Publications
  • Quantum Evolution - Explore the role of quantum mechanics in life, evolution and consciousness.
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