Distinguished developmental biologists from just down the hall and as far away as Singapore, Japan, and England convened at Duke on Friday, March 9, for a special symposium on Developing the Mouse Embryo. Speakers at the symposium highlighted breakthroughs in cell and developmental biology and implications for human health. The day-long event was a celebration of Dr. Brigid Hogan, Chair of Duke University’s department of Cell Biology. Dr. Hogan is a world leader in developmental biology and stem cell research, and in 2002 was the first woman to be appointed as Chair of a basic science department at Duke University.
Ken Poss, Director of Duke’s Regeneration Next Initiative and Professor of Cell Biology, said, “Brigid has shown remarkable leadership for fifteen years as Department Chair. We all appreciate her vision and her support of the field, as well as her groundbreaking work in developmental biology.”
Dr. Richard Behringer, Professor of Genetics at University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer, was a presenter at Friday’s symposium. Dr. Behringer wrote a blog post about the Symposium on the Developmental Biology website, The Node. He recounted that many people shared touching “Brigid stories” showing how Dr. Hogan has inspired a generation of biologists. Dr. Behringer’s blog post is reposted below.
Last Friday March 9, a research symposium was held at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina to honor the career and retirement of Professor Brigid Hogan, Chair of the Department of Cell Biology. Current and former Hogan Lab members, colleagues, and friends came from across America, Japan, and the United Kingdom to join in the celebration of a truly remarkable scientist. There were 14 invited speakers, including former students, postdocs, colleagues from Brigid’s days at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, current members of the Department of Cell Biology at Duke, and friends in the mouse development and genetics field. More than 150 participants that included local students and postdoctoral fellows came to hear outstanding research talks. Among the participants, luminaries in the mouse developmental biology field were there to honor Brigid, including Gail Martin, Liz Robertson, Liz Lacy, Frank Costantini, Phil Soriano, Terry Magnuson, Blanche Capel, Kat Hadjantonakis, and Mary Dickinson. The symposium started with surprise videos from friends Fiona Watt (King’s College London) and Jim Smith (Francis Crick Institute), sending their congratulations to Brigid and one from Brigid’s third graduate student, Peter Holland (University of Oxford), praising her skills at inspiring his confidence as a young scientist during his thesis research. The research talks discussed current research, including gene regulatory networks, cutting-edge microscopic imaging, organogenesis, the genetic basis of human disease, novel gene manipulation approaches, embryos on a chip, organ-specific stem cells, high-throughput mouse mutant phenotyping, and tissue regeneration. The talks highlighted the advances in the field of cell and developmental biology and why this area of research is so important for basic knowledge and human health. To learn more about Brigid’s background and motivation to study mouse embryos and organs see her 2015 interview with The Node (http://bit.ly/2DqfZiM).
In addition, to the wonderful science that was presented that day, all of the speakers had a “Brigid story” that they shared with the audience. Many spoke of her drive, curiosity, generosity, patience, and for those who were trained in her lab, the lessons they learned from her. These included ‘don’t talk yourself out of an experiment, sometimes you just have to do it’, ‘be brave’, ‘finish what you start’, ‘speak up and speak out’. My favorite was ‘don’t apologize for being a tall, confident woman’. Everyone praised Brigid’s skills as a mentor. You can read about Brigid’s thoughts on mentoring in a recent interview in Cell Stem Cell – Mentoring the Next Generation (http://bit.ly/2Dk1PiM). Yes, Brigid is “retiring” but she will still be very active. At the end of the symposium, Brigid thanked everyone for attending and participating, especially those who traveled such long distances. She said it brought “a joy to my heart” and was a “day I’ll always remember”.
Reposted from the Node, March 13, 2018 with permission.