About us

The aims of the BSDB are:

  1. To advance research and teaching in those aspects of animal and plant biology that are connected with developmental processes
  2. To further public education
  3. To bring together scientists interested in developmental biology by holding high quality scientific meetings

In furthering these aims, the Society also undertakes the following:

  • Represents developmental biology to external organisations in the UK and Europe
  • Offers limited travel grants to members
  • Negotiates reduced subscriptions to key developmental biology journals for members

The full BSDB Constitution can be viewed here.

Students and postdocs are often not aware of the enormous BSDB membership benefits. To spread the news, a simple start can be made by putting up this poster at your institute or inserting this PowerPoint slide into your lecture file.

BSDB Newsletters

The BSDB Newsletter is published twice a year and informs about meetings, the financial status, a summary of news items of the term and any other matters arising. The actual Newsletters as well as older issues dating back to 2000 can be downloaded here.


The BSDB is supported by membership subscriptions, and by a generous grant from The Company of Biologists, who publish Development, Journal of Cell Science, Journal of Experimental Biology and Biology Open (BiO), an Open Access journal that aims to facilitate rapid peer review for accessible research.


The BSDB started its life in 1948 as the London Embryologists’ Club. To learn more, download the article “A short history of the BSDB by Jonathan Slack, published in 2000 by the International Journal of Developmental Biology.

Committee members

The BSDB is run by a committee elected by its members.

  • Chair Ottoline Leyser (Cambridge; 2014-2019)
    • responsible for the overall running of the BSDB
    • chair@bsdb.org
    • interest: shoot branching control in Arabidopsis
  • Secretary Kim Dale (Dundee; 2013-2018)
    • deals with the membership list and the election of new committee members
    • secretary@bsdb.org
    • interest: vertebrate segmentation in chick and mouse
  • Meetings Officer Josh Brickman (Edinburgh/Copenhagen; 2013-2018)
    • arranges meetings and venues, and liaises with the scientific meeting organisers
    • meetings@bsdb.org
    • interest: early embryonic lineage specification in ES cells
  • Treasurer Christopher Thompson (Manchester; 2014-2019)
    • handles the membership subscriptions and awards travel grants
    • treasurer@bsdb.org
    • interest: evolutionary & developmental Genetics in Dictyostelium
  • Communications Officer Andreas Prokop (Manchester; 2013-2018)
    • assembles the Newsletter, maintains the BSDB site including news posts
    • comms@bsdb.org
    • interest: axon growth & maintenance in Drosophila
  • Graduate Representative – Alexandra Ashcroft (Cambridge; 2015-2018) – group of Anne Ferguson-Smith
    • a contact for BSDB students discussing student issues/views with the BSDB committee
    • running the BSDB graduate student Facebook page
    • students@bsdb.org
    • importance of DLK family gene dosage
  • Postdoc Representative – Michelle Ware (group of Jenny Morton in Cambridge; 2015-2018)
    • a contact for BSDB postdoctoral researchers discussing issues/views with the BSDB committee
    • running the BSDB graduate student Facebook page
    • postdocs@bsdb.org
    • interest: circadian rhythms in Huntington’s disease mouse models

Other committee members

  • Anna Philpott (Cambridge; 2012-2017) – neurogenesis in mouse & Xenopus
  • Jo Begbie (Oxford; 2012-2017) – neurogenesis in chick & mouse
  • Henry Roehl (Sheffield; 2012-2017) – musculoskeletal development in zebrafish
  • Sally Lowell (Edinburgh; 2013-2018) – early lineage decisions in ES cells
  • Andy Oates (London; 2014-2019) – vertebrate segmentation in zebrafish
  • Megan Davey (Edinburgh; 2014-2019) – cilia during neural tube & limb development in chick & mouse
  • Alistair McGregor (Oxford; 2015-2020) –  evolution of animal development & morphology in arthropods incl. Drosophila
  • Berenika Plusa (Manchester; 2015-2020) – early mammalian embryogenesis in mouse
  • Tristan Rodriguez (London; 2015-2020) – cell fate & survival in early mouse & ES cells
  • Rita Sousa-Nunes (London; 2015-2020) – neural proliferation and tumourigenesis in Drosophila

Incoming Committee members

Four new committee members have been elected on our AGM who will officially take term in autumn, but already respond to your queries or requests now:

  • there are no vacancies until 2017

Committee nominations

Members are encouraged to make nominations for candidates for the committee at any time. Nominations should be seconded and sent directly to the Secretary (secretary@bsdb.org). Elections occur at the Annual General Meeting and terms are generally for five years. If the committee member subsequently becomes appointed as an officer, then the five year term is reset from that point.

Past committee members (from 2015)

  • Magdalena Stasiulewicz (Dundee; 2013-2015) – Graduate Representative
  • Malcolm Logan (Communications officer until 2014; London; 2008-2015) – limb development in chick & mouse
  • Jenny Nichols (Cambridge; 2010-2015) – embryonic pluripotency in ES cells
  • Lynda Erksine (Aberdeen; 2010-2015) – axon guidance in mouse
  • Andrew Chalmers (Bath; 2010-2015) – epithelial cancers in cell culture models
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