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New embryo phenotype data from the DMDD programme

Posted by on June 15th, 2018

Following our latest data release, the DMDD website ( now contains detailed phenotype data for nearly 700 embryos from 82 different knockout mouse lines. Highlights include the identification of limb defects and cysts in Col4a2 knockouts and replication of the major features of Meckel syndrome in B9d2 knockouts. We have begun to add immunohistochemistry image[…]

Venn, Euler, upset: visualize overlaps in datasets

Posted by on May 25th, 2018

Visualizations for comparing datasets is a topic in all my data viz classes. Current solutions for comparing 2,3, 4 and more datasets are diverse and some are controversial. A one-fits-all solution does not exist, but there are well-working solutions, and some that should be avoided. 1-3 datasets Comparing two or three datasets works well in[…]

A better bar

Posted by on April 18th, 2018

After leaving the bar, what are we to do? I propose to move on to a better bar (and I hope that you will not be disappointed when you find out that I’m actually referring to an interval). In a previous blog I advocated the transparent presentation and reporting of data in graphs. It was[…]

A tribute to parrots

Posted by on April 5th, 2018

In a previous blog, I have disgraced parrots by associating them with P-values and discrediting them for their mechanic repetition. Nevertheless, I admire the vivid colours of these multifaceted birds. Here, I want to make it up by dedicating a pseudo-colour look-up table (LUT) to parrots. The images produced by fluorescence microscopy are best displayed[…]

A droso4school CPD event for teachers

Posted by on February 20th, 2018

The droso4schools initiative is an educational outreach programme run by the Manchester Fly Facility, which I had the opportunity to be actively involved in during a month-long placement (see my previous blog). The aim of this programme is to re-introduce the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster into school and college biology lessons. For this, the droso4schools[…]

Nominate your Drosophila genes of interest for CRISPR fly stock production

Posted by on February 13th, 2018

The DRSC/TRiP-Functional Genomics Resources is a Drosophila community resource with three main focus areas: (1) cell-based Drosophila cell screening, (2) fly stock production, and (3) bioinformatics. Our TRiP fly stock production platform is taking nominations for production of CRISPR sgRNA fly stocks. Researchers can nominate genes for knockout (TRiP CRIPSR-KO) or activation (TRiP CRISPR-OE), or both.[…]

Explaining Developmental Biology to non-specialists

Posted by on January 24th, 2018

The BSDB recently initiated an advocacy campaign, starting with (1) the gradual development of the best arguments that can be used as elevator pitches in discussions, presentations, applications or publications, and (2) the collation of support resources which were first published on the BSDB website and are now present in improved version on The Node.[…]

Matthew Cobb: What makes great biology?

Posted by on January 19th, 2018

Prof. Matthew Cobb (The University of Manchester) Plenary talk given at the School of Biological Sciences symposium on Friday, 12 January 2018 Matthew Cobb is an inspiring advocate and communicator of science, in particular of biology. This is clearly reflected in his books and articles about the history of biology (and beyond), and his various[…]

The MBL Embryology Course: Questions and Answers

Posted by on January 17th, 2018

The Feburary 1st deadline to apply to the Embryology Course at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is quickly approaching. Maybe you’ve only just learned about the Embryology Course, or perhaps you’ve been meaning to apply to it for years but never pulled the trigger. Either way, I’m writing this blog post to (1) convince you[…]

Postdoctoral position in cardiovascular development lab

Posted by on January 13th, 2018

The composition of extracellular microenvironment is dynamically regulated in time and space during embryonic development. Our lab discovered that cell-type specific expression of the extracellular matrix (ECM) protein fibronectin is essential for mammalian embryogenesis and cardiovascular morphogenesis. Furthermore, we found that fibronectin regulates distinct morphogenetic processes in a cell type-specific manner, and functions both in[…]