Dr Victoria L. Welch. Biologist, Editor, Author

I am a research biologist with over two decades of experience. This includes periods spent as an Oxford University research biologist and as a Research Fellow for The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851.
I currently work as an author, ghost writer and editor of scientific content. This involves dealing with a wide range of content, ranging from popular science books and magazine articles, to academic journal papers and monographs. I continue to undertake a small volume of scientific work as an independent researcher.


Early Work

1995 - 2001

My early academic and industrial research projects were tackled aspects of bateriology, as you might expect of someone then aiming to be a research microbiologist.

Doctoral, Post Doctoral Studies

2001 - Present

Having moved from Microbiology to Zoology for my doctorate, I studied structural colouration (sic) in various animals at Oxford University. This work started with Jellyfish, Ctenophores and Fish and later moved on to various other animals, particularly Beetles of various kinds. My main accomplishments and contributions were the discovery and characterisation of numerous photonic band gap materials/ Photonic Crystals in ctenophores and beetles. At the time, far fewer examples of these materials were known from nature and they were markedly less comprehensively described than they are today, some 20-years later.

I was also lucky enough to have access to some large insect and bird collections, at Universities and Museums in the UK and Belgium. This allowed me to conduct various surveys of the abundance and distribution of structural colouration in various taxa- notably Hymenoptera. My final original research project at the University of Namur concerned the abundance, distribution and characterisation of fluoresence in animals, particularly in beetles.

My research funding was cut in 2009, restored in 2012 and cut again in 2013, leaving me with significant quantities of unpublished data, which may or may not be published at some point, depending upon my spare time. These protracted periods outside of academia allowed me to pusue my interest in popular science writing, producing articles and columns for various commercial magazines under several pen names. Ultimately, I became tasked with editing and ghost-writing a broad range of content for others.

In 2017, I became managing director and editor of the popular science writing, education and editing company The Greatest Minds Ltd.


Oxford University

Doctorate in Zoology 2000 - 2003

London University

BSc (Hons) in Microbiology 1996 - 1999


University Scientific / Technical Writer

The University of Namur, Belgium, (Physics Department). Producing journal papers and grant reports (Part Time). Oct 2014-Nov 2015

Freelance Science Writer / Magazine Writer

Various pen names, various outlets. January 2009- 2022.

Editor and Managing Director

The Greatest Minds Ltd, 2017- 2022

Lecturer in Science Communication

MSc Programme, Physics Department, University of Namur, Belgium, Jan 2012-Apr 2013

Research Biologist

Biophysics Projects relating to Colours in the Natural World,
Physics Department, University of Namur, Belgium. Jan 2012- Apr 2013

Wildlife & Pet-care Magazine Columnist

Jan 2009-Jan 2012. Popular Fish Keeping, Practical Reptile Keeping and Small Furry Pets- various start dates, All Kelsey Media, UK. Minimum circulation 12k, maximum 1.3 million (sic) for a single issue.

Research Biologist

University of Namur, Belgium. Nov 2005- Dec 2008. EU-funded Biophot and GIACS projects

Secondment to ISI Turin

June/July 2008

Secondment to Hebrew University of Jerusalem

September 2008

1851 Research Fellow

The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. Held at Oxford University. Oct 2003-Oct 2005

Doctoral Student

Oxford University Zoology Department, Sep 2000- Dec 2003

Biology Tutor (Peripatetic)

For various London-based tutorial agencies.

Research Assistant

Psychology Department, Birkbeck College London,
Voluntary, Part-time; working for Dr G Davis. Sep 1999- Feb 2000


26) “Assessment of environmental spectral ellipsometry for characterising fluid-induced colour changes in natural photonic structures”, S. R. Mouchet, E. Van Hooijdonk, V. L. Welch, P. Louette, T. Tabarrant, P. Vukusic, S. Lucas, J.-F. Colomer, B.-L. Su and O. Deparis, Materials Today: Proceedings 4 (4), 4987-4997 (Jan 2017),

25) “Liquid-induced colour change in a beetle: the concept of a photonic cell”, Mouchet, S. R., Van Hooijdonk, E.,Welch, V. L.,Louette, P.,Colomer, J.-F., Su, B.-L., and Deparis, O.,Scientific Reports, 6:19322, DOI: 10.1038/srep19322, 10 pages (Jan 2016),

24) "Cylindrical Bragg mirrors on leg segments of the male Bolivian blueleg tarantula Pamphobeteus antinous (Theraphosidae)", Priscilla Simonis, Annick Bay, Victoria L Welch, Jean-François Colomer and Jean-Pol Vigneron, Optics Express Vol 21, Issue 6, pp. 6979-6996 (2013).

23) “Fluorescence in Insects”, Welch, V. L., Van Hooijdonk, E., Intrater, N.and Vigneron, J.-P., Proceedings SPIE ,8480, The Nature of Light: Light in Nature IV, 848004 (2012).

22) "Investigations and mimicry of the optical properties of butterfly wings", Christopher J. Summers, Davy P. Gaillot, Matija Crne, John Blair, Jung O. Park, Mohan Srinivasarao, Olivier Deparis, Victoria Welch and Jean-Pol Vigneron, Journal of Nonlinear Optical Physics & Materials, Vol. 19, No. 3 (2010) 489–501

21) “Iridescent bees, wasps, ants and sawflies: structural coloration in the hymenoptera”, V. L. Welch and J.-P. Vigneron, Pub: Dzo Publications, Truro, 2010. ISBN: 978-0-9565785-1-8 (Hardback),

20) "Dielectric multilayer films fabricated by Magnetron Sputtering: How far can the iridescence be tuned?", Deparis, O., Rassart, M., Vandenbem, C., Welch, V., Vigneron, J.-P., Dreesen, L. and Lucas, S.,Plasma Processes and Polymers, 6, S746-S750, (2009).

19) "Morpho-like optical phenomenon in the neotropical lycaenid butterfly Mercedes atnius", Balint, Z., Berthier, S., Boulenguez, J and Welch, V. L., Atalanta, 40 (1/2), 263-272, (2009).

18) "Nanomorphology of the blue iridescent wings of a giant tropical wasp, Megascolia procer javanensis (Hymenoptera)", Sarrazin, M., Vigneron, J.-P., Welch, V. and Rassart, M., Physical Review E, 78, 051902 (2008),

17) "Composite organic/inorganic Butterfly scales: a new technique for producing photonic structures", Gaillot, D. P., Deparis, O., Wagner, B. K, Vigneron J.-P., Summers, C. J. and Welch, V., Physical Review E, 78, 031922, (2008),

16) "Structurally tuned iridescent surfaces inspired by Nature", Deparis, O., Rassart, M., Vandenbem, C., Welch,V., Vigneron,J.-P., Lucas, S., New Journal of Physics 10, 013032, (2008),

15) "Beyond Butterflies- the Diversity of Biological photonic crystals", Welch, V. L. & Vigneron, J-P., Optical and Quantum Electronics, 39, 295-303, (2007),

14) "Switchable reflector in the Panamanian tortoise beetle Charidotella egregia" (Chrysomelidae : Cassidinae)", Vigneron, J.- P., Pasteels, J. M., Windsor, D.M., Vertesy, Z. Rassart,M., Seldrum, T., Dumont, J., Deparis, O., Lousse, V., Biro, L. P., Ertz, D.and Welch, V. Physical Review E, 76 (3), 031907- 031917, (2007),

13) "Iridescent Coleoptera as templates for fabrication of versatile SiO2/TiO2 multilayer mirrors and filters", O. Deparis, C Vandenbem, V. Welch, M. Rassart, V. Lousse, J.-P. Vigneron, V. de Vriendt and S. Lucas., Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics Europe, Technical Digest, 2007,

12) "Orange reflection from a three-dimensional photonic crystal in the scales of the weevil Pachyrrhynchus congestus pavonius (Curculionidae)", Welch, V., Lousse, V., Deparis, O., Parker, A. and Vigneron, J.-P.,Physical Review E, 75 (4), 041919- 041928, (2007),

11) "Colour-selecting reflectors inspired by biological periodic multilayer structures", Deparis, O., Vandenbem, C., Rassart, M., Welch, V. L. and Vigneron, J.-P. , Optics Express, 14 (8), 3547-3555 , (2006),

10) "Optical properties of the iridescent organ of the comb-jellyfish, Beroe cucumis (Ctenophora)", Welch, V., Vigneron, J.-P, Lousse, V. and Parker, A., Physical Review E, 73 (04), 041916- 041923, (2006)

9) “Photonic crystals in Biology”, V. L. Welch (Chapter 2) in “Structural Colours in Biological Systems- Principles and Applications”, Ed: S. Kinoshita & S. Yoshioda, Pub: Osaka University Press, Osaka, 2005, ISBN: 4-87259-195-X

8) “The cause of coloration in the ctenophore Beroë cucumis”, Welch, V. L.,Vigneron, J.-P.& Parker, A. R.Current Biology, 15 (24), R985- R986, (2005),
- Supplementary data [Here].

7) “Opal analogue discovered in a weevil”, Parker, A. R., Welch, V.L., Driver,D & Martini, N., Nature, 426, 786-787, (2003) [Cited 106 times],

6) "Short range clinal variation in the prevalence of a sexually transmitted fungus associated with urbanisation", Welch, V. L., Sloggett, J. J., Webberley, K.M. & Hurst, G.D.D., Ecological Entomology, 26, (5), 547-550, (2001),

5)"Can attention select only a fixed number of objects at a time?", Davis, G., Welch, V.L., Holmes, A. and Shepherd, A. Perception, 30 (10), 1227-1248, (2001).

Journal Papers, Book Chapters and Books


Reports and Conference Proceedings Edited
(This list is probably exhaustive- it certainly has most of my research publications). Click on blue text for free download of full-text pdf.

4) “BioStruct Report 5- Final Report”: official final scientific report for University of Namur, Academie Universitaire Louvain & Walloon Regional Government funded BioStruct Project, Year 5 of 5, Welch V. L. (Editor, part-translator and one of several co-authors), 58 pages, bilingual English-French document, no ISBN, Dec 2015,

3) “BioStruct Report 4”: official scientific report for University of Namur, Academie Universitaire Louvain & Walloon Regional Government-funded BioStruct Project, (Year 4 of 5), Welch V. L. (Editor, part-translator and one of several co-authors), 25 pages, bilingual English-French document, no ISBN, March 2015,

2) “More is different: conference proceedings of 5th European Conference on Complex Systems”, (V. Welch, one of several ghost writers credited as sub editors), Ed: S. Solomon and D. Bree, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and International Science Institute, Turin, No ISBN, 2008,

1) "Thermophiles and Thermophilic and Mesophilic Endospore-formers in EVFI (TM) Yogmix (TM)",
V. Welch, supervised by R. Cobb, scientific report for The Nuffield Foundation, who funded summer project developing and implementing a new industrial baceriological quality control testing regime, No ISBN, 1994.

(other publication-types listed in later sections)


A Very Small Selection:

The vast majority of my popular science work has been published under pen-names. There are now a few hundred articles, posts and pieces in various printed magazines, bookazines, websites and blogs, etc. Here are just a few pieces published under my own name-

i) “The Final Frontier (Is Really, Really Tiny)", V. Welch and S. Mouchet in "Marie Curie and the Ibexes: Top Science Writing from The Greatest Minds Ltd", in press,

ii)"Flying Guppies, Cichlid Brains and Giants of The Amazon”, V. L. Welch, in Popular Fish Keeping, Sumer 2013 (launch) Issue,

iii) “Too Good To Eat”: article on the Egyptian Grasshopper, Anacridium aegyptium, V. L. Welch, Practical Reptile Keeping magazine, Dec 2010, pp40-42

iv) “Forgotten Inheritance”, V.L. Welch & A. Minet, in “Expatica”, July 2006. http://tinyurl.com/btg92nt

Contact Details.

Pdfs of my papers should be downloadable directly from the links above.

Due to the vast amounts of spam I receive, all e mail is now screened by my P.A.-


Anything appropriate/normal, reasonable and non-spammy will be forwarded to me.