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Saying 'When' and Building Support


When Mary Lidstrom spoke with Genome Technology's Matthew Dublin about her lab, she also shared some advice for women in science.

I always felt being female was to my advantage, because I was more easily remembered. I was able to ignore or circumvent any obvious hostility so that didn't impede me. However, I do feel there are still significant gender issues.

My advice would be two-fold: 1) To learn when to say no. A major problem with all junior faculty, but in my experience more prevalent with female faculty, is the tendency to want to help out everywhere, especially with students, and become over-committed. Junior faculty must learn to balance their time well. When in doubt, seek advice from a senior faculty member about whether or not to accept an invitation or accept a request when the time commitment is high.

2) Build a support group with other female faculty who have similar lifestyle issues. Being able to share concerns about balancing family and career, for instance, is very helpful. Alternatively, being able to share concerns about not having a family, or pursuing a serious hobby, is also very helpful. Find a support group and take advantage of their assistance and experience. Most female faculty are very willing to take time to help other female faculty.

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.