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Editorial changes

Posted by , on 24 July 2017

This Development Editorial appeared as an advanced online article on 21 July.
Olivier Pourquié, Katherine Brown


Here at Development we are very sad to be saying goodbye to two of our editors: Ottoline Leyser and Geraldine Seydoux. Both Ottoline and Geraldine have been valued members of the editorial team since 2011, and we are hugely grateful for the time and effort they have put in to handling research papers, helping to shape the journal’s future plans and, in Ottoline’s case, coordinating our 2016 Special Issue on Plant Development. They will both be greatly missed, but will maintain connections with and continue to provide input on the journal as members of our Editorial Advisory Board.

Taking their places, we are delighted to announce two new editors: Yka Helariutta and Susan Strome. Yka is taking on Ottoline’s role as Development’s plant editor. After a PhD in plant genetics at the University of Helsinki, Finland, Yka undertook postdoctoral research at New York University and New York Botanical Garden with Philip Benfey before moving back to Helsinki in 1998 to establish his own lab. From 2003 to 2014 he was also affiliated with the Umeå Plant Science Centre in Sweden, and was elected as an EMBO Member in 2008. In 2014, Yka became Professor of Plant Developmental Biology at the University of Cambridge, UK, and moved to the Sainsbury Laboratory, although he still runs an active group in Finland. Yka’s work focusses on vascular development in plants, from patterning to cell differentiation. He primarily uses Arabidopsis as a research model, but is also interested in how the basic molecular mechanisms operate in species with an extensive vascular domain, such as trees.

Susan Strome began her career as a biochemist working on bacteriophages at the University of Washington, before moving to the University of Colorado for a postdoc with William Wood. There, she started working on the C. elegans germline – an interest that has continued throughout her career. Susan gained an independent position at Indiana University in 1984, staying there until 2007, when she moved to the Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she currently holds the position of Distinguished Professor. A Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Susan’s current research focusses on how cells are instructed to develop as germ or soma, and particularly on how chromatin regulators act to promote and maintain germline fate.

One other significant piece of news is that I [Olivier] will be stepping down as Development’s Editor in Chief in September 2018, after 8 years in the role. During this time, I have tried to adapt the journal to the new challenges faced by developmental biology. Notably, I have tried to engage the journal more actively with the stem cell field and, more recently, with human developmental biology. I have also sought to promote emerging fields such as evo-devo and quantitative biology. We have added new sections to the journal: the ʻTechniques and Resources’ and ʻStem Cells and Regeneration’ sections, which have proved to be very popular. We have also tried to listen to the community and implement a number of changes to the submission and review processes. My time as Editor in Chief has been a fantastic experience and I am pleased I had such a great opportunity to serve our community. However, I think turnover is important to maintain journal dynamism and I have chosen to end my tenure at the 2018 Development/The Company of Biologists meeting ʻFrom Stem Cells to Human Development’, which I am co-organising (for details, please see http://www.

Both the journal, which has undergone significant changes during the past 8 years, and the field as a whole are, right now, in an exciting place. We are of course aware of the challenges that researchers face in today’s funding and publishing environment, but we continue to believe that developmental biology has a bright future. Not only can we now use stem cells, genomic and other techniques to analyse human development as never before, but traditional and new model systems are also being exploited in evermore innovative ways to understand the molecular, cellular and physical bases of development across evolution in unprecedented spatiotemporal detail.

We (The Company of Biologists and Development) are enthusiastic about the prospects for developmental biology, and part of our mission is to support you, the research community. We are seeking a new Editor in Chief with a strong vision for Development at the heart of the field. This search will be led by members of The Company of Biologists’ Board of Directors: Sarah Bray, James Briscoe and Kate Storey. As a key part of the process, we want to consult a broad cross-section of the developmental biology community about the strengths of Development, where we can improve, into which (new or existing) areas the journal should expand and what more we can do to support our field. We therefore encourage you to get in touch with any feedback that you may have, particularly where you think it might be helpful in directing our search for a new Editor in Chief. Please contact Sarah, James and Kate – along with Development’s Executive Editor Katherine Brown and the Company’s Publisher Claire Moulton – via, or get in touch with any of us individually. With over a year to go before Olivier steps down, we are happy to have the time to gather and digest community input to help us make the right choice for the next Editor in Chief and ensure that Development continues to hold an important place in the community long into the future.


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