Advisor Profiles

Ruth Lehmann, Ph.D.

NYU Langone Medical Center

Ruth Lehmann is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Professor and Chair of the department of Cell Biology at NYU Langone Medical Center, where she directs the Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine.  Dr. Lehmann received her Ph.D. with Nobel Laureate  Dr. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard at the Max Plank Institute in Tübingen, Germany. After postdoctoral training at Medical Research Council in Cambridge, UK, she joined the Whitehead Institute and the faculty of MIT, before she was recruited to the then newly founded Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine at NYU Langone Health. In 2020, she will move back to Boston to be the next director of the Whitehead Institute of Biomedical Research at MIT.

Research in her laboratory focuses on reproductive biology. Germ cells, the cells that mature into egg and sperm are the only cells in the body with the potential to naturally generate a completely new organism. The lab has made important discoveries in understanding how germ cells are specified in the early embryo, migrate by lipid guidance and how they maintain the potential for totipotency while differentiating into egg and sperm in the adult. Most recently her lab used super-resolution imaging to determine a new principle by which RNAs self-sort within phase transitioned germ granules and identified mechanisms by which mitochondria are sequestered to germ cells and selected for quality during germline development.

Dr. Lehmann is a member of the American Academy of Arts Sciences (1998) and the National Academy of Sciences (2005), Associate (foreign) Member of EMBO (2012). She was awarded the Conklin Medal of the Society of Developmental Biology, was the inaugural recipient of the Klaus Sander Preiss of the German Society for Developmental and received the Keith Porter Award from the American Society of Cell Biology. Dr. Lehmann has been the President of the Society for Developmental Biology and will serve as President of the American Society for Cell Biology in 2021. She has served on the PEW Scholars and LSRF advisory boards and is editor in chief of the Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology.