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#ECRWednesday webinar: Refreshing approaches to researcher evaluation

Join us for our next monthly webinar where we'll speak to three institutions taking a broader approach to assessing investigators.
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There is a growing movement to move away from using the publication record as the main way to evaluate researchers. This approach doesn’t necessarily identify the best candidates, and is fuelling an incentive system that celebrates volume of papers and where they’re published instead of what’s been discovered, the quality of the work, or its importance for the field. More and more scientists, at every career stage, are pushing for ways to recognise and reward scientists who perform high-quality research, and who do so responsibly, even if it doesn’t yield a publication in a key journal. So, a number of institutes are discussing or publicising policies that may help to reform recruitment practices in science.

On Wednesday, June 28, we’ll talk with representatives of three institutions that have taken a more broad approach to assessment – in the UK, Europe, and the US. As ever, the focus will be on how these changes affect early-career researchers.

11:00am in New York | 4:00pm in London

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Michelle Linterman, Group Leader, Babraham Institute, Cambridge (UK)

Michelle Linterman received her PhD in Immunology from the Australian National University in Canberra, where she investigated a novel mechanism of immunological tolerance; a phenomenon by which the immune system fails to respond to an antigen. She is currently Group Leader at the Babraham Institute and her principle research focus is on how the immune system responds to vaccination.

Nicolas Le Novère, Senior Group Leader, Babraham Institute, Cambridge (UK)

Nicolas Le Novère is senior group leader at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge (UK). He studied molecular biology biochemistry at École Normale Supérieure, evolution at University Paris XI, biophysics and pharmacology at University Paris VI where he received an MSc in 1993 and a PhD in 1998. His early career at the Pasteur Institute focused on brain nicotinic receptors and their role in tobacco addiction, using both experimental and computational approaches. He moved to systems biology while modeling bacterial chemotaxis at the University of Cambridge (UK). His research then centered on inter- and intra-cellular signals, with a particular emphasis on synaptic plasticity, first at EMBL-EBI and then at the Babraham Institute. He coordinated the development of key software tools to support computational systems biology research, such as BioModels, and was a major figure behind the development of a coordinated set of standards, including SBML, SBGN and the MIRIAM guidelines.

Miguel Godinho Ferreira, Principal Investigator, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia

Miguel’s PhD research focused on the cell cycle regulation of DNA replication using S. cerevisiae as a model system and having John Diffley as his supervisor (ICRF/Clare Hall labs). For his postdoctoral research, he joined Julie Cooper’s lab in 1999 as her first postdoc (first at UCHSC in Denver and later, in 2002, at CRUK/LIF in London) to study telomeres, now using S. pombe as a model system, as the closeness in chromosome structure between fission yeast and higher eukaryotes was becoming apparent. In April 2006, he joined the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência to head the Telomere and Genome Stability Laboratory. In 2010, the lab added zebrafish as a multicellular model system to investigate the role of telomere dysfunction at the organism level. His research interests lie in chromosome biology, how they are stably inherited and, upon dysfunction, how they contribute to ageing and disease.

Raquel Oliveira, Group Leader, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia

Raquel Oliveira has been fascinated by chromosome morphology ever since her PhD work where she studied the process of chromosome condensation during nuclear division. Her work was performed at the Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular (IBMC), University of Porto, under the supervision of Prof. Claudio Sunkel. She completed her PhD studies in 2007 and then moved to the United Kingdom, to the Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxfor to work with Prof. Kim Nasmyth. Her work focused on the process of sister chromatid cohesion during mitosis concomitantly with the development of novel techniques to induce acute protein inactivation inside living cells, using fruit flies as a model organism. She returned to Portugal in 2012 to start an independent line of research and head the Chromosome Dynamics Laboratory at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência. Her research team aims at understanding how mitotic chromosomes are assembled, how chromosome structure influences the fidelity of cell division and how mitotic defects arising from abnormal chromosome organization impact organism development and tissue homeostasis. She was recently awarded an Installation Grant from European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) and a starting Grant awarded by the European Research Council (ERC).

Janet M Shaw, Senior Scientific Officer, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Janet Shaw oversees HHMI’s Faculty Scholars Program. She also organizes periodic reviews of the program’s scientists. Shaw earned a BA in genetics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD in molecular biology from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she worked on a novel form of mitochondrial gene expression called RNA editing. After her postdoctoral work, also at UCLA, Shaw joined the faculty at the University of Utah. She was named a Keith Porter Fellow by the American Society for Cell Biology in 2010 and received the University of Utah Distinguished Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholar Mentor Award in 2013. For more than a decade, she has advocated for biomedical research as a member of the public policy committees for the American Society for Cell Biology, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the National Coalition for the Life Sciences. She has also served as a member and chair of grant review study sections for the National Institutes of Health. Shaw maintains her position as a biochemistry professor in the University of Utah’s School of Medicine, where her lab group pioneered the study of dynamin-related GTPases that regulate mitochondrial membrane fission, fusion, and movement.

Melissa Gymrek, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of California San Diego

Melissa Gymrek recently started her lab as an assistant professor at the University of California San Diego in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and Department of Medicine. Previously, she was a post-doctoral researcher with Mark Daly and received her PhD in 2016 in Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics from the Harvard/MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology under the supervision of Yaniv Erlich and Mark Daly. Her major research interest is to understand complex genetic variants that underlie phenotypic changes, ultimately leading to human disease. Her recent work focuses on repetitive DNA variants known as short tandem repeats (STRs) as a model for complex variation. She develops computational methods for analyzing and visualizing complex variation from large-scale sequencing data. These tools allow us for the first time to answer many questions regarding STRs and other variant types, including their contribution to complex human phenotypes. In future work Melissa aims to build on her experience of dissecting challenging regions of the genome to develop and test predictive models of the regulatory effects of complex sequence variation. She also has a strong interest in scientific publication practices for interdisciplinary research and how we can leverage online publishing to create more interactive and reproducible publications. Melissa serves on eLife’s Early Career Advisory Group and on the editorial board of the Journal of Open Source Software with the goal of addressing these challenges.

Refreshing approaches to researcher evaluation

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

11:00am in New York | 4:00pm in London

Every #ECRWednesday includes an hour of live, video discussion followed by a chat on Twitter. This event is hosted in partnership with EU-LIFE, an alliance of top research centres in life sciences to support and strengthen European research excellence and be a voice for research in European policy.

eLife hosts this free programme of monthly webinars for early-career researchers in life science and biomedicine as a platform to share opportunities and explore issues around building a successful research career.

Save the date for the July 26 #ECRWednesday.

Keep up-to-date on forthcoming events as well as other opportunities for early-career researchers – including travel grants, event sponsorships, interviews, and more – by signing up for our newsletter. We’re also on Twitter: @eLifeCommunity