Last Friday March 9, a research symposium was held at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina to honor the career and retirement of Professor Brigid Hogan, Chair of the Department of Cell Biology (Hogan Lab Webpage: http://bit.ly/2ImZxn5). Current and former Hogan Lab members, colleagues, and friends came from across America, Japan, and the United Kingdom to join in the celebration of a truly remarkable scientist. There were 14 invited speakers, including former students, postdocs, colleagues from Brigid’s days at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, current members of the Department of Cell Biology at Duke, and friends in the mouse development and genetics field. More than 150 participants that included local students and postdoctoral fellows came to hear outstanding research talks. Among the participants, luminaries in the mouse developmental biology field were there to honor Brigid, including Gail Martin, Liz Robertson, Liz Lacy, Frank Costantini, Phil Soriano, Terry Magnuson, Blanche Capel, Kat Hadjantonakis, and Mary Dickinson. The symposium started with surprise videos from friends Fiona Watt (King’s College London) and Jim Smith (Francis Crick Institute), sending their congratulations to Brigid and one from Brigid’s third graduate student, Peter Holland (University of Oxford), praising her skills at inspiring his confidence as a young scientist during his thesis research. The research talks discussed current research, including gene regulatory networks, cutting-edge microscopic imaging, organogenesis, the genetic basis of human disease, novel gene manipulation approaches, embryos on a chip, organ-specific stem cells, high-throughput mouse mutant phenotyping, and tissue regeneration. The talks highlighted the advances in the field of cell and developmental biology and why this area of research is so important for basic knowledge and human health. To learn more about Brigid’s background and motivation to study mouse embryos and organs see her 2015 interview with The Node (http://bit.ly/2DqfZiM).
In addition, to the wonderful science that was presented that day, all of the speakers had a “Brigid story” that they shared with the audience. Many spoke of her drive, curiosity, generosity, patience, and for those who were trained in her lab, the lessons they learned from her. These included ‘don’t talk yourself out of an experiment, sometimes you just have to do it’, ‘be brave’, ‘finish what you start’, ‘speak up and speak out’. My favorite was ‘don’t apologize for being a tall, confident woman’. Everyone praised Brigid’s skills as a mentor. You can read about Brigid’s thoughts on mentoring in a recent interview in Cell Stem Cell – Mentoring the Next Generation (http://bit.ly/2Dk1PiM). Yes, Brigid is “retiring” but she will still be very active. At the end of the symposium, Brigid thanked everyone for attending and participating, especially those who traveled such long distances. She said it brought “a joy to my heart” and was a “day I’ll always remember”.