Communication and negotiation for female leaders

By Charlotte Dodson, Imperial College London

Prepare, prepare, prepare. These were the three most important take-home messages from the EMBO course on communication and negotiation for female leaders at the end of September 2016.

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Charlotte planning to negotiate her holiday (Credit: Hilde Janssens)

Everything was defined in a scientific business context (no communication to lay audiences here) and after two and a half days of active listening, transactional analysis, thinking about relative needs and head-down building roadmaps for hard negotiations we wanted more!

Step one: ignore the other party and decide what you want. Oh so easy to say, but so hard to do. In detail. More detail. The more detail I write down, the more flexible I can be in my negotiation (apparently).

Step two: place an ambition on everything – in the ideal world how much lab space do I want, what equipment do I need access to, what would I like to be paid…

Step three: what are my limits? For what things is there a point at which I will stop and walk away? What is that point? Would I really walk away for one unit lower?

Step four: what other criteria don’t have limits but are ‘important’? What information would it be in my interest for the other person to know about me? (Make a list, make sure you tell them!) What questions do I have? (Questions must be facts, and can’t be negotiation points – don’t put the same thing in two places…).

Only once I know all of this can I even talk to the other side (or so I learned). Continue reading

Obesity, on the molecular level

By Emma Pettengale, Commissioning Editor, Portland Press

According to the World Health Organisation, as of 2014 over 600 million adults worldwide are obese, with obesity posing a significant risk to individuals for diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis and some cancers.

It’s not just about how much you eat and exercise, molecular factors play a part – the genes you inherited from your parents might pre-dispose you to have an increased risk of obesity, interactions between the environment and your genes have a role and energy balance is not a simple equation.

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Biomedical Engineering – Not Just Science Fiction

By Chelsea Reighard, University of Michigan, USA

I remember my first exposure to bioengineering vividly. My love for science started in primary school, when I received a gift subscription to weekly science magazine. One Saturday afternoon I sprawled out on my parents’ living room carpet to read an issue about ‘wacky inventions’. I could not believe my eyes when I turned the page to find a mouse with an ear on his back—a human shaped ear!

While many of these tissue engineering and 3D printing applications seem to be the stuff of science fiction; the innovative medical devices and education approaches are real. I am fortunate to be spending this academic year researching biomedical solutions to clinical problems under the mentorship of Dr David Zopf.

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