Staff Profiles

Magda Zernicka-Goetz, Ph.D.

California Institute of Technology & University of Cambridge

Magda Zernicka-Goetz is a Bren Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering at Caltech, California and Professor of Mammalian Development and Stem Cells at the University of Cambridge, UK. She developed technologies to track lineages and alter gene expression, which led to re-define our thinking about the earliest events governing cell fate specification in the mammalian embryo. She developed systems to culture mouse and human embryos in vitro to the point of gastrulation that allowed her reveal the mechanisms of embryogenesis after implantation. This research was winner of the people’s vote for Science Breakthrough of the Year 2016. She showed that chromosomally abnormal cells become eliminated through apoptosis in embryonic but not extra-embryonic tissues and discovered the minimal embryonic cell number that have to be established by implantation to ensure successful development. She pioneered development of 3D stem cell-derived embryos. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology from Warsaw University with Andrzej Tarkowski, and did postdoctoral research at University of Cambridge with Martin Evans and John Gurdon. Honors include Promising Young Scientist Prize 1993, Young Investigator Award from EMBO 2001, EMBO Membership 2007, Fellowship of British Academy of Medical Science 2013, International Foundation IVI Award for the Best Basic Research in Reproductive Medicine 2017, COGI and RBMO Award in recognition of lifetime contribution to reproductive medicine 2018, NIH Director's Pioneer Award 2020.