Helen Pilcher was a stand-up comedian for more than ten years, before the arrival of children meant she couldn't physically stay awake beyond 9pm. During this time, she performed at the Edinburgh comedy festival, at London's Comedy Store, and at various smoky pubs and clubs across Britain. She was a finalist for Jongleurs New Act of the Year (1998, 1999), the BBC New Stand Up Competition (1999) and Channel 4's So You Think You're Funny (1999). In 2002, she teamed up with fellow comedian Timandra Harkness to write and perform 'The Comedy Research Project' a stand-up comedy show commissioned for the very first Cheltenham Science Festival. Unusually, Helen is also a professional science writer, with a PhD in stem-cell biology. She was formerly a journalist for Nature online, specialising in genetics; before that, she ran the Science in Society programme at the Royal Society, and before that, she worked as a senior scientist for a biotechnology company, engineering a series of human stem cell lines for transplantation into damaged human brains, this following on from her doctoral research into stem-cell therapy for Alzheimer's disease.