Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dr. Jessica Abbott receives "Junior Project Grant" from the Swedish Research Council (VR) and moves to Lund

Some of the greatest moments of satisfaction in the life and career of scientists and teachers is when former PhD-students are succesful and able to obtain jobs and positions, especially these days with increasingly severe competition for research grants. It is therefore with great pleasure that I now note that Jessica Abbott, currently postdoc at the Evolutionary Biology Centre (EBC) in Uppsala, has received a so-called "Junior Project Grant" from the Swedish Research Council (VR).

As many regular readers of this blog probably already know, Jessica defended her PhD-thesis here in Lund in November 2006, with me as her main advisor. After her PhD-defence, she moved to Queens University (Canada) for a VR-funded postdoc in the laboratory of Adam Chippindale to work on intralocus sexual conflict over wing shape in fruitflies (Drosophila melanogaster). She continued working with fruitflies also during her second postdoc in Ted Morrow's lab in Uppsala, but now using more transcriptomic techniques, such as microarrays, to study the expression profile consequences of intralocus sexual conflict.

Jessica will join the Evolutionary Ecology Unit in the Biology Department, and start up her own independent research project on intralocus sexual conflict in simultaneous hermaphrodites, using experimental evolution approaches on marine flatworms (see picture above), in collaboration with Lucas Schärer. We will hopefully hear more about these plans in a few weeks, as Jessica will come to this year's Christmas Meeting and party in the Evolutionary Ecology Unit. Jessica has also promised to write a blogpost soon where she will inform us a bit more. She will also come to our weekly lab-meeting on November 16, to share her experience on how to obtain a Junior Project Grant from VR (more info in a forthcoming blogpost).

The fact that Jessica now will bee able to establish herself as an independent senior researcher is not only good for herself, but also for the rest of us, as a new intellectual force with novel research techniques and study organisms  will come to us in Lund. Jessica will thus join our lab soon and will of course be active at lab-meetings and (hopefully) also soon be able to recruit PhD-student(-s) and/or postdocs.

As Jessica now will become another Principal Investigator (PI), I think that time is now very mature to re-name this blog ("Erik Svensson Research Laboratory"), which is to focussed on only one person, to something more general, which captures both mine and Jessica's research, and also opens up for future recruitments and establishments of new PI:s.

Ideally, a new name for this blog should be long-lasting, general, independent of study organisms or techniques, yet still capture the essence of research interests among the PI:s, postdocs and PhD-students. It could very well be a name consisting of several words, even an acronym, as the case of some of our sister blogs at other universities, like the  Eco-Evo, Evo-Eco, which was started by Andrew Hendry at McGill University, but which is a true group blog for his co-workers, just like I want this one to become in the future.

I therefore congratulate Jessica once again, and declare the competition for a new blog name that captures current and future research interests of this group open! There is no deadline to come in with suggestions, and you could either tell me directly, or write in the comments below this blog posts. I have already one possible name in mind, which I have discussed with Jessica, but wanted everyone to have the chance to come in with suggestions before I decide. There is no jury, and I am the only judge. Good arguments will be considered, especially if they take in to account the factors that I listed above (generality, likely duration and the possibility of future recruits and new PI:s).


  1. That's great news Jessica. Congratulations! It is well deserved.

  2. Tom

    I hope to count you in as well one day too :)