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Eric Wieschaus

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. Before his group began their analyses, however, the genes that control transitions between developmentally specific configurations and stages were not known.

Drosophila embryos provided a useful system to identify such genes, not only because of their sophisticated genetics but also because each cell shape change and each restructuring of the cytoskeleton is tightly coupled to the developmental pathways governing cell fate. Much of Eric 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 Merite, 2011.

Inducted into the NICHD Hall of Honor, 2003.

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1995.

Elected Member of the National Academy of Sciences, 1994.

Elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1993.

Relevant Publications

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

S. C. Little et al, "Independent and coordinate trafficking of single Drosophila germ plasm mRNAs," Nat. Cell Biol., vol. 17, no. 5, pp. 558-568, May 2015.

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

O. Polyakov et al, "Passive mechanical forces control cell-shape change during drosophila ventral furrow formation," Biophys. J., vol. 107, no. 4, pp. 998-1010, Aug. 2014.

S. Di Talia and E. F. Wieschaus, "Simple Biochemical Pathways far from Steady State Can Provide Switchlike and Integrated Responses," Biophys. J., vol. 107, no. 3, pp. L1-L4, Aug. 2014.



Advisor Humans & the Microbiome


Princeton UniversityDepartment of Molecular Biology


PhD (Biology) Yale University

BSc (Biology) University of Notre Dame


United States

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