Jennifer L. Rohn was born in Stow, Ohio. She received a BA in Biology summa cum laude from Oberlin College in 1990, and a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Washington, Seattle in 1996. She moved to London for post-doctoral scientific training and then to Amsterdam, Netherlands, for a stint in a start-up biotech. She is now a group leader in the Division of Medicine at University College London.
An avid reader, Jenny had always wondered why there were so few scientist characters in mainstream literature. While living in Amsterdam, she wrote two novels about scientists – the first of which, Experimental Heart, was inspired by her exploits as a young cancer researcher in London and was published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, New York in 2008. Her second novel, The Honest Look, is set in a start-up biotech company in the Netherlands and was also published by CSHL Press in November 2010.
Jenny coined the term 'lab lit' to describe such novels and in 2005 launched the website LabLit.com to help promote the use of science and scientist characters in mainstream fiction and to illuminate the world of scientists and laboratory culture. In addition to her activities as a practicing scientist and novelist, Jenny is a part-time science writer and journalist, broadcaster and sci-lit-art pundit.
Her writing has appeared in many places including The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times, BBC News, Nature and The Scientist, and she also appears frequently on TV, radio, in podcasts and as an expert in science films.
Her short fiction has been published in Nature and The Human Genre Project, and she blogs about the scientific life at Mind The Gap and at Occam's Corner on the Guardian. She is also founder and chair of the Science is Vital organization that campaigns against cuts to the public funding of science in the UK.