Cell and Developmental Biology


Prof Claudio Stern

Prof Claudio Stern


Anatomy building
Department of Cell & Developmental Biology, UCL
Gower Street


  • J Z Young Chair of Anatomy
    Cell & Developmental Biology
    Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL


The research in our laboratory focuses on the processes that establish cell diversity and pattern in the early embryo. We ask the questions: how do cells in the embryo know what fates to adopt, at the right positions and at the right time? What mechanisms ensure that the correct proportions of cells are allocated to different organs?

Currently, the projects in the lab fall into four major headings:

1. How do higher vertebrate embryos establish their polarity, and what mechanisms coordinate cell movements with gene expression?

2. What mechanisms are responsible for inducing the early nervous system?

3. How is the early nervous system subdivided into forebrain, midbrain, hindbrain and spinal cord?

4. Embryonic stem cells - where are they in the embryo, and can we harness them to understand developmental pathways?

We are particularly interested in discovering mechanisms that represent general principles in development, and therefore follow a multi-disciplinary approach. We choose (or if necessary, develop) techniques that will help us best to answer the questions being asked, rather than being wedded to any particular set of techniques. We do not define our questions based on specific genes, but rather based on the biological event we are trying to understand + we first define the biological process and then try to establish which genes are important for that process. Finally, although much of our research uses chick embryos (because they are easy and cheap to obtain at precise stages of development, because it is easy to manipulate cells, and because a lot is already known about how they develop), we are also not wedded to this as an experimental system. Current projects use chick, quail, frog and mouse embryos, and we are also collaborating with other labs using yeast, flies and fish.

Keywords: Asymmetric cell division, Axon guidance, Calcium, Development, Differentiation, Gene expression, Imaging, Molecular imaging, Neural signalling, Neural stem cells, Neuroblast, Neurogenesis, Neuroimaging, Progenitors, Proliferation, Regeneration, Signalling

Methods: Anti-sense and morpholino approaches, Calcium imaging, Cell culture, Cell transplantation, Confocal microscopy, ES cell manipulations, fluorescence microscopy techniques, Gene expression profiling - single cell , Gene expression profiling - tissue level, Genetic manipulation (including knockout/knockin) , Genetic screens, Genomic analyses, Histology, In vivo electroporation, ionophoresis and microinj, Image analysis, Immunohistochemistry, light microscopic techniques, miRNA analysis, Microarrays, Multi-photon imaging, Molecular imaging, Time-lapse imaging
Award year Qualification Institution
1994 DSC
Doctor of Science
University of Oxford
1985 MA
Master of Arts
University of Oxford
1978 DPhil
Doctor of Philosophy
Developmental Biology
University of Sussex
1975 BSc
Bachelor of Science
Biological Sciences
University of Sussex


Anti-sense and morpholino approaches|*|Antibody assays|*|Asymmetric cell division|*|Axon guidance|*|Axon regeneration|*|Calcium|*|Calcium imaging|*|Cell adhesion|*|Cell culture|*|Cell motility|*|Cell tracking|*|Cell transplantation|*|Chick|*|Chicken|*|Chimera production|*|Chromatin immunoprecipitation|*|Computational modeling|*|Confocal microscopy|*|Congenital disease|*|Conjoined twins|*|Craniofacial disease|*|Craniorachischisis|*|Cytokines|*|Development|*|Differentiation|*|ES cell manipulations|*|Early development|*|Electron Microscopy|*|Electrophoresis techniques|*|Epigenetics|*|Epithelial cell|*|Evolution|*|Extracellular matrix|*|Fluorescence microscopy techniques|*|Gene expression|*|Gene expression profiling - single cell|*|Gene expression profiling - tissue level|*|Genetic manipulation (including knockout/knockin)|*|Genetic screens|*|Genetics|*|Genomic analyses|*|Growth|*|Growth cone|*|Histology|*|Image analysis|*|Imaging|*|Immunohistochemistry|*|In situ hybridisation|*|In vitro assays of cell function|*|In vivo electroporation, ionophoresis and microinj|*|In vivo models|*|Intercellular junctions|*|Ion channels|*|JNK|*|Klippel-Feil syndrome|*|Kyphosis|*|Light microscopic techniques|*|Liposomes|*|Lordosis|*|MRNA|*|Mathematical modelling|*|Mechanical stress|*|MiRNA analysis|*|Microarrays|*|Microscopy|*|Molecular imaging|*|Monozygotic twins|*|Morphology|*|Multi-photon imaging|*|Muscle biology|*|Myoblasts|*|Neural signalling|*|Neural stem cells|*|Neuroanatomy|*|Neuroblast|*|Neurodegeneration|*|Neurogenesis|*|Neuroimaging|*|Neuromuscular junction|*|Neuron|*|Neuroscience|*|Optical imaging|*|Progenitors|*|Programmed cell death|*|Proliferation|*|Regeneration|*|Repair|*|Reproductive biology|*|Rhythm|*|Scoliosis|*|Signalling|*|Skeletal Muscle|*|Spina bifida|*|Spinal cord|*|Spinal cord injury|*|Spinal deformity|*|Stem cells|*|TGF-beta|*|Time-lapse imaging|*|Tissue engineering|*|Transcription factor|*|Twins|*|Vertebral column|*|Vertebral column malformations|*|Viral vectors|*|Xenopus|*|gastrulation|*|neural induction|*|neural patterning|*|somite formation|*|stem cells