Jonathan Slack grew up in London collecting fossils and playing with lab equipment that his chemist father brought home. He received his undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Oxford and his PhD from the University of Edinburgh. “I felt molecular biology as it was then was very dull,” Slack says. He briefly considered a career in forensic science, but his interest was piqued by “a terrific collection of embryological journals” in the Edinburgh zoology department library. Slack dove into reading the journals and found that “it seemed there were a lot of very interesting problems, which nobody had looked at for many decades,” he says. After developmental biologist Lewis Wolpert gave an exciting talk at Edinburgh, Slack decided to pursue a postdoc in Wolpert’s lab at Middlesex Hospital Medical School. From there Slack launched his work on developmental patterning and later discovered the role of fibroblast growth factor...

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