Showing posts from August, 2019

An Atypical Career Path

My scientific career has been rather unconventional. After completion of a Masters Degree in Science at the University of Melbourne, Australia, I commenced full-time employment as a research assistant performing electron microscopy to investigate megakaryopoiesis at Australia’s largest comprehensive cancer centre, the Peter MacCallum, (often abbreviated to ‘Peter Mac’). Although it was always my personal goal to undertake a PhD, it was impractical for me as my priority was to start a family and be a mum. Additionally, back then the grant funding bodies in Australia did not take career disruptions into account. Notably, today the option to provide evidence of a career disruption is an integral component of most Australian grant applications, signifying that gender equity is being taken more seriously. After the birth of twin daughters in 1990, I transitioned to working part-time and continued to work part-time over the next 11 years whilst enjoying being a mum to the twins and two s

Thank You to Our Sponsors and Exhibitors!

The 48th Annual International Society for Experimental Hematology meeting is taking place now in Brisbane, Australia. The exciting program ( ) includes career and technology sessions, as well as talks and poster presentations from trainees, new investigators and leaders in the field. On behalf of the ISEH Board of Directors, volunteers and staff, we'd like to thank our 2019 sponsors and exhibitors, seen below. We hope to see you all in New York in 2020! Thank you to our 2019 gold Sponsor Thank you to our 2019 silver Sponsors   Thank you to our 2018 Bronze Sponsor Thank you to our 2019 Supporters   Thank you to our 2019 Educational Support Sponsors Thank you to our 2019 Exhibitors    

New Investigators: The subtle art of conferencing

The idea of this post came at the end of an interesting and compact session on myeloid biology at [large scientific meeting on hematopoiesis]. Although the immediate thought of the moment was the need for glucose and caffeine, the discussion with ISEH colleagues gradually evolved into how to maximize the benefit of scientific conferences. Scientific meetings come as a tradeoff between time productively spent in the lab and delocalizing in order to get context, information, and inspiration. Meetings are filled with a mixture of excitement and anxiety from learning the advancement of the field, the reward of showcasing hard work, and the opportunity to exchange ideas with leaders in your specific field of research. They are an integral part of a researcher’s life. However, selection of which meetings to attend requires prior knowledge of target attendees and the organizers’ mission. Regardless of the level of training, one benefits differently from large versus smaller, more focused me

How to Review a Scientific Grant

Scientific research is expensive.  Discoveries need dollars.  The vast majority of academic medical research is supported by funding from charitable Foundations, or national governments (e.g. NIH).  The “gold standard” for funding success as a tenure-track faculty member at an academic institute in the USA is obtaining R01’s (or equivalent) from the NIH.  But with a relatively stagnant budget over the last decade, and more PIs competing for that pot of money, NIH pay lines have shrunk dramatically (see Figure).  There is more pressure than ever on PIs to write good grants to support their research.  In turn, this also means there is a tremendous amount of pressure on grant reviewers to thoughtfully evaluate the proposals to ensure the most meritorious applications are selected for funding.  As an early-to-mid career PI, I have now had the chance to serve on several study sections for both Foundations and the NIH.  I have learned a lot about the process of grant review (which in turn

An Interview with Dr. David Traver, PhD, Recipient of the 2019 ISEH McCulloch & Till Award

Interviewed by Novella Guidi of the ISEH New Investigators Committee What key question would you like to answer with your science? How are hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) born during embryonic development? Every year we learn more and more regarding the genetic inputs and cellular interactions needed to form HSCs. Yet, this process that occurs in the embryo cannot be replicated in vitro from pluripotent stem cells. So, we still have a great deal to learn regarding how the known signals are integrated into the precursors of HSCs to enable their formation. What has been the biggest challenge that you have to face in your career? Maintaining a consistent stream of funding. It seems that funding is often either feast or famine, with either option being fairly arbitrary. I hope we can improve the system in the U.S. to better link a laboratory’s track record with grant success. What do you most value in a student or a member of your team? I think motivation and curiosity are key

Implicit Bias in Peer Review

When the term implicit bias is mentioned, many people's initial response is "But I'm not biased!” Of course, most of us are keenly aware of explicit bias, or prejudice - the kind that is easy to identify, might cause eye rolls or dropped mouths, and is openly discouraged in our educated circles.  Implicit bias is much more discrete, and much harder to identify.  It is also something we're all guilty of, because it occurs without us even knowing.   Implicit bias is intimately linked to our own personal experience, and unconsciously affects our opinions and decisions, both positive and negative. It is molded over a lifetime of experience, images, stories, and perceptions.  Sometimes, our implicit bias is contrary to our stated ideals.  Implicit bias is omni-present, and predicts our behavior and response to specific situations, our judgements and decisions.  Implicit bias affects everyone, regardless of race, religion, or origin.  The good news is that implicit bias