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The Doctor of Delayed Publications – the remarkable life of George Streisinger

Posted by on July 21st, 2016

It seemed like an ordinary morning, with the lecture on Drosophila genetics due to start at 8 o’clock. But when the professor walked in something remarkable happened: instead of starting the lecture right away, he posed an unusual question: “One of the students of this class has a publication on this topic. George Streisinger, where[…]

Research without boundaries – I remain an optimist

Posted by on July 16th, 2016

This week I attended a meeting with Paul Nurse, director of the The Francis Crick Institute, who spoke about the potential implications of the pending Brexit on scientific research at the Crick. Like many other postdocs, I never envisaged that I would be sitting in the Fletcher Hall at Mill Hill following a referendum outcome that meant the UK[…]

Deep into the developmental origins of neural tumours with Drosophila

Posted by on July 12th, 2016

Caroline Dillard and Cédric Maurange (Aix-Marseille University, CNRS, IBDM, Marseille)   Drosophila neural stem cells as a cancer model Transformation of a cell into a cancer cell is a complex process along which the cell acquires hallmarks as diverse as resistance to differentiation, infinite proliferative potential, metastasis, resistance to cell death, genome instability (Hanahan and[…]

Replicating spinal cord development with microfluidics

Posted by on July 5th, 2016

Unraveling Development Embryonic development is a complex and regulated spatiotemporal ensemble of signaling cues that control cell differentiation. Most of what we now know comes from experimenting directly on embryos. This provides biological realism, but involves a sea of uncontrolled/unobserved variables that sometimes obscures the basic underlying mechanisms. More recently, in vitro models, based on[…]

“People in this country have had enough of experts”

Posted by on July 2nd, 2016

I woke up this morning to a Facebook reminder of where I was 5 years ago. I was in Lille, France, on a 2 month sabbatical at Université Lille 1 from my PhD at the University of Cambridge, UK. It was supported by an EU collaborative grant to promote scientific interaction between member states.  […]

Questions of the Month – After the Referendum

Posted by on June 30th, 2016

On the 23rd of June the United Kingdom held a referendum on whether to remain a member of the European Union or to leave. Prior to the vote, Nature reported that 83% of nearly 2000 polled scientists favoured remaining, and letters from Royal Society members and Nobel Prize winners urged the public to vote to remain in the interests of[…]

After the Referendum: Links

Posted by on June 30th, 2016

To complement our Questions of the Month, we’ve brought together some post-referendum science links   News and Comment Nature reported on science’s reaction to the news, on post-ref limbo, bemoaned the lack of a leaving plan in an Editorial, and assessed the mood seven days later. Science  documented the immediate reaction, ran an interview with Anne Glover, former EU science adviser,[…]

YEN 2016 review

Posted by on June 26th, 2016

My informal review of YEN this year is by necessity a bit rushed but, for what it is, here it is. Most reviews are very short and pithy/jealous and only exist for some of the talks where, for a combination of good and bad reasons, I paid attention (I have tried to make this review[…]

Reproducibility: a pathological perspective

Posted by on June 20th, 2016

” the ability to reproduce experimental findings remains essential for the forward movement of science and the application of laboratory findings to the clinic”   This is an extract from a Special Article article that originally appeared in Disease Models and Mechanisms (available here Open Access) Paul Schofield, Jerrold Ward, John P. Sundberg   Reproducibility of data from[…]

Question of the month – the 14 day rule for human embryo research

Posted by on May 31st, 2016

Earlier this month, two papers were published (from the Brivanlou and Zernicka-Goetz labs) that reported in vitro systems to study development of the human embryo through implantation stages. These experiments have kept human embryos developing for longer than any previous work, and close in on the 14-day limit imposed by many governmental and regulatory bodies.[…]