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James Briscoe

Posts by James Briscoe

An update from Development

Posted by , on 11 May 2020

I wanted to take a couple of minutes to update you on how things are going at Development. I imagine many of you will be reading this on a laptop ...

Gene Regulatory Networks for Development Course - apply by 17 July

Posted by , on 11 July 2019

Applications are now open for this year’s Gene Regulatory Networks for Development at The Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, USA from October 13-26.  The application deadline is July 17th. The course is for ...

1st Crick-Beddington Developmental Biology Symposium

Posted by , on 30 October 2018

The 1st Developmental Biology Symposium will take place at the Francis Crick Institute in London on 4-5 February 2019: This two-day symposium will showcase the best in developmental biology across the life ...

Faculty Positions | The Francis Crick Institute

Posted by , on 4 October 2018

The Francis Crick Institute is recruiting Early Career Researchers who wish to set up their first independent research programme at the Crick in any area related to biomedicine. We welcome applications from those who ...

Gene Regulatory Networks for Development

Posted by , on 19 June 2018

Applications are now open for this year’s Gene Regulatory Networks for Development which will be at The Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, USA from October 14- 27.  The application deadline is July 20.  ...

Recent comments by James Briscoe

I understand Jonathan’s point but I would side with Teisha – these definitions could really be “splitting hairs” or becoming increasingly redundant. For example, what definitions do we use when stem cell behaviour (lasting throughout life and generating progeny) is the result of the probabilistic behviour of a population of cells? In these cases it appears impossible to distinguish a priori which cells will be the stem cells and which the progenitors. Do we call them all stem cells? Indeed there may not be a distinction between these two types of cells, beyond the vagaries of probability, and one would argue that “stemness” and “progenitorness” are properties of the population and not individual cells. (See work by Ben Simons and others for more on this type of stem cell behaviour. Nice review in Cell Stem Cell. 2007 Oct 11;1(4):371-81.)
by James Briscoe in Stem Cells versus Progenitors on February 15, 2011
No, I'm afraid we're not going to have a video-feed, but its an idea we should consider for future meetings. As a matter of interest, do you think you (i.e. your lab/institute) would be willing to pay a small fee (~USD 100) for having access to a conference in this way, because if we were to video a meeting we would have to cover the cost of hiring the equipment and operators.
by James Briscoe in Development of Sensory Systems: Autumn BSDB2010 on August 12, 2010
I agree with Greg. The conventional salary structures that most publicly funded research bodies use perpetuate the idea that there is a single linear, hierarchical career ladder. In addition, I do not believe they are an honest reflection of the reality of how research is accomplished. More flexibility is what’s needed and the acknowledgment and encouragement of a diversity of career routes and development paths. In the same way, I think its very unhelpful when senior members of the life science community publicly state that only people in their 30s and 40s can be successful, productive PIs. However, this might be an issue for another thread....
by James Briscoe in Too many postdocs and PhD students? on July 27, 2010
I think we need to ask this question in a different way. Instead of asking if we are training too many scientists, we should ask what is the purpose of scientific training. If we believe that a PhD is simply a vocational qualification for academic research then its easy to argue that we are training too many. Likewise, we would should slim down business schools if an MBA is simply a qualification for CEOs of blue-chip companies. But I think scientific training should be viewed in a broader context. The skills learned in research – project management, communication, critical analysis, creativity – are highly valued and needed in a diverse range of jobs. What better way to acquire these skills than in research? I’d argue that the more people who are trained in a research environment that end up pursuing careers in other sectors, the stronger the economy will be. For example, I find it deeply worrying that currently there are only two members of the British parliament that have a PhD. How can we hope to develop and nurture a “knowledge economy” if an understanding of science and scientific training does not ramify throughout the economy. We, as the academic science community, need to stop thinking that the only acceptable career route leads to a tenure committee at an ivy league university and that anyone not achieving this goal has failed or quit. Instead, we need to promote the benefits of a PhD and research experience to all employers. At the same time we should stop dividing the world into “science” and “alternative” careers and look to expand the range of career choices available.
by James Briscoe in Too many postdocs and PhD students? on July 23, 2010