Eric Wieschaus



  • Advisor
  • Humans & the Microbiome


  • Princeton University
Department of Molecular Biology


  • United States


PhD (Biology), Yale University
BSc (Biology), University of Notre Dame


A major goal of the Wieschaus laboratory is to understand the mechanisms that control changes in cell size, shape and position during embryonic development.

The cytoskeletal components and adhesive factors that produce these changes are the same in most organisms; many have been identified using cell biological and biochemical techniques. However, before the Wieschaus group began their analyses, the genes that control transitions between developmentally specific configurations and stages were not known.

Drosophila embryos provided a useful system to identify such genes because of their sophisticated genetics, and also because each cell shape changes and each restructuring of the cytoskeleton is tightly coupled to the developmental pathways governing cell fate. Much of Wieschaus’ past work has been directed at identifying the genes that control cell fate in Drosophila. His team is currently defining the connection between such cell fate genes and the morphological changes that are their immediate consequences.


Orden Pour le Mérite, 2011

NICHD Hall of Honor, 2003

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1995

Member of the National Academy of Sciences, 1994

Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1993

Relevant Publications

Blythe, S.A., and E.F. Wieschaus. "Coordinating Cell Cycle Remodeling with Transcriptional Activation at the Drosophila MBT." Development 142, no. 11 (June 2015): 1971–1977.

Little, S.C. et al. "Independent and coordinate trafficking of single Drosophila germ plasm mRNAs." Nat. Cell Biol. 17, no. 5: (May 2015): 558–68.

Blythe, S.A., and E.F. Wieschaus. "Zygotic Genome Activation Triggers the DNA Replication Checkpoint at the Midblastula Transition." Cell 160, no. 6 (March 2015): 1169–1181.

Polyakov, O. et al. "Passive mechanical forces control cell-shape change during Drosophila ventral furrow formation." Biophys. J. 107, no. 4 (August 2014): 998–1010.

Di Talia, S., and E.F. Wieschaus. "Simple Biochemical Pathways far from Steady State Can Provide Switchlike and Integrated Responses." Biophys. J. 107, no. 3 (August 2014): L1–L4.