Dr Graeme Finlay

Dr Graeme Finlay studied for a PhD in cellular immunology, and then joined the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, New Zealand, where he has been working for the past 20 years. This laboratory is involved in the development of novel anti-cancer agents, and is the largest group of this nature in the southern hemisphere. Research focus has centred on DNA-binding agents that poison the DNA-organising enzyme topoisomerase II. Areas investigated have included effects on the cell division cycle, mechanisms of cell death and the activity of the tumour suppressor gene encoding p53 in cell death pathways. Since 2000 Dr Finlay has also been Senior Lecturer in General Pathology in the Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology, University of Auckland.

Two very different currents of thought directed him into the study of comparative evolutionary genetics. The first was the explosive growth in the understanding in cancer genetics that occurred since the early 1980s. The second was the wholesale importation of American creationist ideas into New Zealand. These developments intersected in fascinating ways. They generated a writing programme designed to identify some of the extraordinary developments in genetics described in the scientific literature, and present them in terms accessible to non-biologists. The resulting booklets were all published in 2004 by Telos Books (Auckland) with the titles: