Jonathan Roberts | PhD Student

Roberts, Jonathan

Jonathan is a genetic counsellor who is currently studying for a Ph.D. His project is a collaboration between the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and King's College London. His research uses both qualitative and quantitative methods to explore family communication and genomics. He is particularly interested in the representation of genetics, inheritance and DNA in popular culture and his research explores how families' knowledge and enjoyment of pop culture can be used to facilitate engagement with genomics.

Jonathan has worked as a genetic counsellor in both clinical and research environments. His clinical experience includes providing genetic counselling in cancer, cardiac, prenatal, and ophthalmic clinics. As a research genetic counsellor, he has worked on various projects at Moorfields Eye Hospital as well as working on the Deciphering Developmental Disorder's (DDD) Project while at Addenbrookes. In addition to his genetic counselling practice, he has a broad range of additional experience, including working as a teacher in special needs schools (both in the UK and Poland) and as a volunteer for the Samaritans. Jonathan also has a degree in the History and Philosophy of science.

Jonathan combines his wide range of academic skills and interests in an innovative research project that is looking at family communication surrounding genomics. He is particularly interested in drawing on families' knowledge, skills and interests and how these can be used to facilitate engagement with genomics. His work draws on three strands of sociology. First, Bourdieu's theory of capital, especially the newly developed concept of 'science capital.' Second, he is building on the findings of academics who have successfully worked with underserved students, integrating their 'funds of knowledge' into pedagogical practice. Finally, he is also drawing on ideas from narrative analysis.


  • Breast-cancer risk in families with mutations in PALB2.

    Antoniou AC, Casadei S, Heikkinen T, Barrowdale D, Pylkäs K et al.

    The New England journal of medicine 2014;371;6;497-506