Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, PhD
Director, Department of Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen, Germany
An early interest in genetics and developmental abnormalities led Dr. Nüsslein-Volhard to study bicaudal mutations in Drosophila. Her work led to a 1995 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which she shared with Eric Weinhaus and Edward Lewis. She and her colleagues identified early patterning genes in Drosophila that possess similar homologues in humans. They described this work in a landmark Nature paper published in 1980. This study garnered significant attention since it described how only a limited number of genes are responsible for controlling development. The importance of their research was subsequently applied to understanding the genetic causes of spontaneous abortions in humans.
Although best known for her work involving genetic mutations in Drosophila, Dr. Nüsslein-Volhard also studies basic developmental patterns in zebrafish. She is also credited with co-discovering Toll genes, which encode toll-like receptor (TLR) proteins involved in innate immune responses. Collectively, Dr. Nüsslein-Volhard’s research has revolutionized our understanding of the genes necessary for normal development. These findings have since proven crucial for ongoing investigations into the pathogenesis of cancer.
2013 AACR-Irving Weinstein Foundation Distinguished Lectureship2004-2009 Secretary-General, European Molecular Biology Organization1995 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine1993 Ernst Schering Prize1992 Prix Louis-Jeantet de médecine, Fondation Louis-Jeantet1991 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award1992 Gregor Mendel Medal, Genetics Society, UK1990 Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Science1990 Mattia Award, Roche Institute of Molecular Biology1990 Elected Foreign Associate, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC1990 Elected Foreign Member, The Royal Society, London1989 Carus Prize of the German Academy of Sciences, Schweinfurth1988 Carus Medal of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Halle1986 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, German Research Foundation1973 PhD, Eberhard-Karl University, Tübingen