The mysterious double life of an Editorial Services Director

Collecting metric data from ancient Egyptian skeletons curated at the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, Boston. 

Dr Emily Marlow | Editorial Services Director

Like everyone who works in medical communications, I am passionate about medical science. But unlike a lot of people, I am also fascinated with the human skeleton and what you can learn about a deceased person just from looking at their bones.

It was during my BSc degree in Biomedical Science that I developed an interest in archaeology, anthropology, and human osteology. I read an article about a forensic anthropologist excavating mass graves in Rwanda, Bosnia, and Kosovo. It was a haunting description, but also one filled with a sense of hope, particularly because her testimony helped to bring some of the perpetrators of the genocides to justice.

In 2005, I began an MSc degree in forensic anthropology at the University of Bradford, and after a year of intensive study of the musculo-skeletal system, forensic entomology and pathology, and archaeological excavation techniques, I graduated with a Distinction. However, my path turned back to medical science in November 2006 when I was offered the role of Trainee Medical Writer at Porterhouse Medical.

A little under three years later I had been promoted to Senior Medical Writer, but had also developed an itch to go back to university and examine more bones. This is exactly what I did thanks to the Managing Directors, Messrs Brian Parsons and Jon Hallows, who gave me special permission to work remotely and on a part-time basis. I therefore moved to Manchester in September 2010 and began a PhD within the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology at the University of Manchester, working on a research question that combined my passion for forensic anthropology with a long-standing interest in ancient Egypt. At the end of my PhD in 2014, I was honoured by Brian and Jon again when I was offered the opportunity to return to Porterhouse Medical full-time in the new role of Editorial Services Director. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Now, two years on from my decision to return to Porterhouse full-time, I have many achievements I am proud of, both in medical communications and in the field of human osteology. I manage a team of wonderful medical writers and editors, who make me proud on a daily basis. I gave a lecture to undergraduates, graduates and faculty members in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University. I provided consultancy services to the Manchester Metropolitan University on the content of a medical writing module for a new MSc degree in Science Communication. I’m a member of several archaeological excavation projects, both in the UK and Egypt. Most recently, I published two papers in the peer-reviewed Bioarchaeology of the Near East journal. These papers, entitled ‘Metric sex estimation of ancient Egyptian skeletal remains’ (Part I and Part II), present new standards for the metric estimation of sex of ancient Egyptian skeletons that I hope will be adopted by the bioarchaeological community currently working in Egypt. These papers can be accessed here: and

As for the future, I’m hoping to continue with my jaunts to Egypt, to excavate more burials and put some of my own methods into practice… if Porterhouse can spare me!