Jean-Paul Vincent



University of Louvain, Belgium and University of California at Berkeley


M.Eng., M.A., Ph.D.

Work History:

University of California San Francisco, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, MRC National Institute for Medical Research

Current Job:

Joint head of the Division of Developmental Biology at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research


Medical Research Council

Me and my work

I study how cells communicate with each other

My group studies how cells signal to each other.

Cell signalling enable cells to organise within a tissue so that the right structure forms in the appropriate location.

Signalling is also required for sick or abnormal cells to be recognised and eliminated within a tissue.

We are interested in the relative contribution of short and long range signals during development and also in identifying the signalling mechanisms that induce a cell to commit suicide.

My Typical Day

My typical day is spent in my office, writing papers, proposals, or reports. But I get lots of visitors, the best ones are my collaborators coming to talk about their projects

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Enthusiastic, rational, caring

What living thing amazes you the most?

It has to be the fly. So small and yet so sophisticated in pattern and behaviour

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Professionally, painting dye patterns on frog eggs

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

I annoyed teachers by breaking things, and my own limbs, but deep down, I think that they liked me

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

Inventing practical devices or teaching

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Using techniques from one field to address questions in another

Who or what inspired you to become a scientist?

Starting an MA at Berkeley and finding out about all the exciting science around me

What would your superpower be?

Seeing all the inner workings of a cell in a living tissue

If I could change one thing about the world...

I’d like a world where all children are given a chance to find their passion

My favourite CHRISTMAS LECTURE memory is:

A future memory; it will be this year’s

The most Fantastic thing about Life is:

That it works, most of the time.

Other stuff

Show us where you work: