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developmental and stem cell biologists

Gary McDowell

Posts by Gary McDowell

Frogs shed new light on the midblastula transition

Posted by , on 3 September 2013

  After fertilization, embryos undergo rapid, synchronous cell divisions until the point of the midblastula transition (MBT) where the cell cycle lengthens.  This transition is also known as the maternal-zygotic ...

X-rays and frog embryos: new features of gastrulation revealed

Posted by , on 19 August 2013

For decades, the development of the early embryo and patterning of tissues has been studied with the help of a workhorse of developmental biology, the frog embryo.  Xenopus embryos are ...

Wave at the frogs - they're waving at you

Posted by , on 26 July 2013

  Perhaps, like me, you’ve been microinjecting Xenopus embryos for so long that you start seeing strange things – maybe that they’re waving at you.  But perhaps that’s not so ...

Protocol: Rehydrating embryos once fixed and dehydrated...

Posted by , on 9 July 2010

Does anyone know a protocol for rehydrating embryos once stored in methanol?  I’m working with Xenopus laevis embryos which have been fixed using formaldehyde.  Some lab wisdom passed down is ...

Recent comments by Gary McDowell

Already we see the effects on funding and collaboration in just a few short weeks:
by Gary McDowell in “People in this country have had enough of experts” on July 12, 2016
I've written a post on The Node with some of my thoughts more generally here: In response to your questions: For me, this makes it almost certain I will not return to the UK. My husband is American and undertaking a medical residency in paediatrics for the next 3 years, and we both very much miss the UK and had planned, at some point, to return. I have been coming to terms with the near certainty that that now won't happen. I am also Northern Irish, and Scottish, and lived in England for all my university education. The breakup of the UK that seems inevitable and everything I am currently seeing are, frankly, heartbreaking. In terms of what can be done for science: as I've alluded to in my post, the uncertainty that exists right now is going to be terribly damaging for the UK scientifically because people have strong incentives to leave, be they EU or UK or frankly simply foreign. The UK has been a strong scientific leader and attracted great talent; I would predict that is going to be less likely to be the case. Frankly, it's hard enough getting a permanent academic position; why on earth would you make it harder going into this mess, if you could possibly avoid it. Maintaining collaborations in the face of this, and particularly as a community of developmental biologists, is key. Junior people are going to need more support than ever.
by Gary McDowell in Questions of the Month – After the Referendum on July 2, 2016
This sounds like a wonderful initiative - keep up the good work!
by Gary McDowell in Developing Future Biologists 2016: Discovering the new generation of scientists! on June 28, 2016
So sad that the "too many postdocs and PhDs" dates from 2010 and we're still talking about it! Happy Birthday!
by Gary McDowell in 5 years, 5 posts- celebrating the Node’s 5th anniversary! on July 3, 2015
One thing they can do is to provide resources for members for things such as career development - ASBMB is actually running a survey on this right now: But also they can provide a platform for engaging a community and encouraging them to advocate for funding, provide outreach, support members and provide a networking platform. I'm quite heavily involved with ASCB's postdoc and student committee, COMPASS ( - with representation on ASCB Council, and opportunities to write for blogs, the newsletter, provide outreach, get involved with organization of the annual meeting and provide resources for career development, policy work, outreach, etc., it makes you feel really involved with the community, but also provides a framework for your field to try to work together on common goals, which I think a society can do more easily than an institution or department.
by Gary McDowell in Question of the month- societies on July 1, 2015