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James Briscoe

Posts by James Briscoe

Research Technician – Cell and Developmental Biology – MRC-NIMR

Posted by , on 12 September 2012

Applications are invited for a Research Technician position in the research group of James Briscoe at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research, London. The lab studies the embryonic development ...

Physics of Living Matter Symposium 7 | 13-14th September 2012

Posted by , on 6 June 2012

The Physics of Living Matter symposium is coming to London this year . This event, first popularised in Cambridge, is a forum for interdisciplinary research in cell and developmental biology. For ...

Group Leader position available at MRC-NIMR London

Posted by , on 4 September 2011

Applications are invited for a Principal Investigator position to lead a new research group in Cell and Developmental Biology. We are particularly interested in candidates using quantitative approaches to study ...

BSCB-BSDB Meeting 2011 – Early Bird Deadline Approaching

Posted by , on 24 February 2011

Don’t miss the early bird registration deadline for this year’s BSCB-BSDB meeting. To receive the discounted price make sure you’re registered by Friday 4th March. The conference is the annual ...

Development of Sensory Systems: Autumn BSDB2010

Posted by , on 7 August 2010

Before everyone disappears on their summer holidays, I wanted to let you know that there are a few places left at the British Society for Developmental Biology Autumn meeting. The theme ...

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