Featured Scientist (I): Prof Stephan Grill

One of the aspects that I enjoy the most as a PhD student is the Friday seminar.  This weekly seminar, organized by the JIC, is given by top scientists in research, from all over the world, and is open to the scientific community (see details here): http://www.jic.ac.uk/corporate/search/lectures.asp

As students, we have the opportunity not only to attend the lecture, but also to attend a lunch with the speaker and discuss some general or particular topics in a very informal way. It is very nice to find out more about details of the talk, topics that were not included in  the seminar, the tricks and art of a particular technique, career advice…and, in short, have the opportunity to discuss any topic!

In case you miss the Friday seminar, you can always obtain the recorded version in the library, but, what if you miss the student lunch? The idea of this section is to share with other students the ideas exchanged in the lunch, via a short interview with the scientists that visit JIC.

Stephan Grill [grill@mpi-cbg.de]

It was great to speak with Prof Stephan Grill during the student lunch. I found it very interesting to know about the dynamic actomyosin cytoskeleton in animals and its role in morphogenesis.

Prof Stephan Grill. Image courtesy of www.mpi-cbg.de

Prof Stephan Grill. Image courtesy of http://www.mpi-cbg.de

Prof. Stephan Grill has a multidisciplinary group including people with different research backgrounds. During the conversation we touched on a very important topic, about the challenges associated with leading and belonging to an interdisciplinary team. The time flew! And he needed to catch the train to get on time to the airport, but he kindly agreed to answer a couple of questions (email from Heathrow!).

  • What is the most challenging aspect that you face having half experimental and half theoretical backgrounds in your team?

To make sure the theorists and the experimentalists keep talking to each other. 

  • Regarding the interdisciplinary research, do you have any advice to students that could help us to fill the gap between areas?

You have to avoid being a “Jack of all trades and a master of none”. That’s difficult. So become a master of one trade and learn to communicate with the masters if the other trade, and, most importantly, understand what they can do. 

  • Generally speaking, what advice would you give to an early researcher (PhD student) for success in academia?

Find out which scientific question keeps you up at night. That’s what drives you through the valleys and tough periods. 

  • Finally, could you summarize your work with 4 keywords?

What does Actomyosin do?

by Yara Sanchez-Corrales – a fourth year PhD jointly supervised by Dr Veronica Grieneisen and Prof. Enrico Coen.


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