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This is not a press release

Major journals often ask scientists to limit interactions with the press before their work is published. I agree with this policy, which prevents the public disillusionment with science that can happen when a scientist makes claims (like cold fusion) that don't stand up to subsequent peer review. But presentations at scientific meetings (where the audience can critique exaggerated claims) are allowed. Members of the press can attend those meetings, report on what they hear, and ask other scientists for their reactions.

That's what happened this week, when Will Ratcliff (my recent PhD student, now doing a postdoc with Mike Travisano, Mark Borrello and me) talked about experimental evolution of multicellularity in yeast, at the Evolution meetings. His PhD was recent enough that he was eligible for and won the (William) Hamilton Prize for "Best Student Presentation." Our interactions with the press are constrained, for now, by the journal that's considering our paper on this work, but I look forward to blogging about it once it's published.

Meanwhile, see my earlier posts on Will's theoretical work on the evolution of aging, commentary on multiple roles for antibiotics in interactions among bacteria, and the discovery of a new form of bet-hedging in bacteria. This work was made possible by support from the US National Science Foundation.


Definitely the coolest talk that I attended. Any chance you will be accepting students for Fall 2012?

if it's NS article, I hope you publish open access, if not, I'll be begging you for a copy soon


I do hope to recruit a student or two for fall 2012, but note that Mike Travisano is lead investigator on the multicellularity work. I've had a secondary role in that research, but also work on evolution of cooperation between legumes and rhizobia and some other topics. Will Ratcliff may be in a faculty position and recruiting his own students by late 2012. Since grant funding is increasingly scarce, I encourage US students to consider applying for an NSF predoctoral fellowship.
Will and my first PhD student Toby Kiers both got these, which certainly made life easier.

Thanks for the advice. I'm currently in the process of searching for potential PhD programs with a focus on social evolution, and just from browsing this blog and downloading some of your papers it’s obvious that you guys do some pretty neat work.

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