Let’s start improving research lab websites

I was having a chat with a former colleague the other day about what happens to scientific research that does not end up in papers. We weren’t talking about negative results, but rather about the experiments that validated someone else’s work, but just did not comprise “enough” for a paper of their own. This got me wondering about how individual labs that are specialists in a given area of science might share their expertise by…

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The ‘Founder’s Dilemma’: to be rich, or king?

Founders and investors alike should review “The Founder’s Dilemma” by Noam Wasserman (Harvard Business Review, 2018). It’s required reading, mostly because it concisely lays bare some hard truths all founders face at a critical stage in our company; whether to be ‘rich’ or ‘king’: i.e. to raise the financing needed to capitalize our company appropriately, and so cede control to investors and lose the CEO position and say over major decisions; or to retain control…

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Parental leave for scientific group leaders – changes needed

In 2016, just one year into running my own lab, I took parental leave and wrote a series of articles about the experience. Two and a half years later, I’m doing it again. While many issues still stand, there are several new challenges and experiences that have made me revisit this topic today. Most striking amongst these is the different roles and responsibilities that have accompanied the growth of the lab, making it nearly impossible…

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Scientific publishing needs to change

Even within the scientific community, scientific disciplines today have become so narrowly defined, and breakthroughs so dependent on so many previous lines of discoveries before them, and therefore subject to competing theories, that the inherent value of new discoveries to the public are only really appreciated within the larger context of the field. I don’t normally delve into the topic of scientific publication, but I will today. Our scientific publication system suits a world where…

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More ideas to close the gender gap in science

Many readers will recall my post from a few months back about my 2019 commitment to share good ideas for promoting gender parity in academic science. Last week I was invited to sit on a panel discussion for International Women’s Day at the Cancer Research UK headquarters in London. I was invited to share my experience as a male group leader who has taken shared parental leave for his kids and was joined by four…

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Young CEOs need a mentor to lend a ‘steady hand’

This post continues a conversation on ageism in biotech introduced in an earlier series: Ageism in Biotech No one is born a CEO, they learn on the job. CEOs become by requirement generalists, and the reason why companies are built on teams. Where seniority, experience, network is a recognized gap, as is typically the case with younger Directors, investors, the company, and its board should strive to solve for this problem. The alternative threatens to…

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Quarterly summary: Start-ups vs. starting up a lab… is it the same?

This “quarterly” summary actually spans about six months (sorry to readers who rely on these to catch up!) so bear with us for the long list of posts! We were delighted to welcome back Brianne with a guest post on advocacy efforts by postdoctoral fellows across the world and Jonathan picked up on some nice parallels between his current position (startup biotech CEO) and my current position (starting academic lab) captured nicely in his most…

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No one is born a CEO, they learn on the job

This post continues a conversation on ageism in biotech introduced in an earlier article, but interestingly parallels a similar reality for externally-funded junior research group leaders in academia. ‘CEO’ and ‘Principal Investigator’ can be used interchangeably in this article: Ageism in Biotech I started my lab 3 years ago and I’m moving already   The common narrative that is often advanced (without data) is that younger CEOs, like junior faculty, lack experience in leadership that…

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I started my lab 3 years ago and I’m moving already

After 3.5 years as a new research group leader at the University of Cambridge, I’ve made the decision to move the lab to the University of York and the newly launched York Biomedical Research Institute (side note: recruitment of two additional group leaders is happening right now!) this coming September. For me, this was a multi-factorial decision with lots of scientific, personal, and career considerations that could probably form the basis for several future posts,…

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Ageism in biotech

Without question, ageism exists in biotech. Recently, a feature in Forbes (Gray Hair in the C-Suite: Experience, Age and IPOs in Biotech) highlighted that the median age of biopharma CEOs at IPO was 54 years, and 75 percent were 48 or older. I’ve experienced ageism. At 37 years, I am more than 15 years younger than the median biotech CEO. The average age of first-time CEOs at IPO is 51. While this should be surprising…

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