UCL Division of Biosciences

Prof Claudio Stern

Prof Claudio Stern

J Z Young Chair of Anatomy

Cell & Developmental Biology

Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2000

Research summary

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 ensure than just one embryo (rather than twins) develop?

2. What mechanisms are responsible for inducing the early nervous system, and how is the nervous system regionalised?

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

4.  How is segmentation (a periodic pattern of somites along the axis) established?

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 also involve the study of human populations that generate twins at high frequency to help us identify key genes, and a number of model species including chick and quail, and collaborations with other labs using mouse and human embryos.


University of Oxford
Doctorate, Doctor of Science | 1994
University of Oxford
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 1985
University of Sussex
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1978
University of Sussex
First Degree, Bachelor of Science | 1975