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About: JSlack

Jonathan Slack did his first degree in Biochemistry at Oxford University and his PhD at Edinburgh University. He became interested in the molecular basis of embryonic development, and after a postdoctoral fellowship at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School (London) he became a staff scientist with the UK Imperial Cancer Research Fund, working in London and later in Oxford. During this period he studied how chemical signals called inducing factors control the formation of the body pattern during early embryonic development. In 1986, using the frog Xenopus as experimental organism, he was the first to identify an embryonic inducing factor, fibroblast growth factor, and later showed that this family of inducing factors had a prominent role in controlling the formation of the head-to-tail pattern in the embryo. He moved to the University of Bath in 1995, and was Head of the Department of Biology and Biochemistry from 2000-2006. In 2007 he became Director of the Stem Cell Institute at the University of Minnesota, USA, and holds the Tulloch Chair of Stem Cell Biology. His recent work has focused on the mechanisms of regeneration of missing parts, and on methods for inducing the transdifferentiation of one tissue type into another by overexpression of specific genes. He has a particular interest in attempting to reprogram other tissue types into pancreatic beta cells, which could be used for the treatment of some types of diabetes. He has published over 180 research and review papers in scientific journals, and has also written three books. “From Egg to Embryo” (1983,1991) served to introduce experimental embryology to molecular biologists. “Egg and Ego” (1999) is a light-hearted account of life in academic science. "Essential Developmental Biology" (2001, 2005) is an undergraduate textbook. He is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), was awarded the Waddington Medal of the British Society for Developmental Biology in 2002, and elected a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci) in 2004. He is married with 2 daughters.

Posts by JSlack:

What do students need to know about developmental biology ?

Posted by on June 29th, 2010

This is a question that I keep asking myself. I am starting work on the third edition of my textbook “Essential Developmental Biology”. Over the years the quantity of published material in developmental biology keeps rising exponentially. Papers nowadays are extremely detailed and technical compared to the way they were in the 1980s when the[…]