The Society for Developmental Biology has awarded its 2022 Edwin G. Conklin Medal to Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, Bren Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering and affiliated faculty member with Caltech's Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience. Established in 1995, the Edwin G. Conklin Medal in Developmental Biology is awarded annually by the Society for Developmental Biology to "recognize a developmental biologist who has made and is continuing to make extraordinary research contributions to the field, and is an excellent mentor who has helped train the next generation of outstanding scientists."
Zernicka-Goetz's research addresses fundamental questions about how life begins, such as: What drives a fertilized egg to divide and grow until it becomes 40 trillion cells, and how do these cells know how to make a person? To address these questions, she has developed methods for tracking living embryos to determine how stem cells are first created, establish their fates, and work together to shape the body. She also pioneered methods to grow embryos beyond implantation, techniques dubbed the "People's Choice Scientific Breakthrough of the Year" in 2016 in Science magazine. Her team used these methods to create the first complete embryo models from stem cells that develop like natural embryos.
Zernicka-Goetz received her PhD from Warsaw University and joined the Caltech faculty in 2019. Prior to Caltech, she was professor of mammalian development and stem cell biology at the University of Cambridge, England. She is a fellow of the British Academy of Medical Science and a recipient of an NIH Director's Pioneer Award.
Previous recipients of the Conklin Medal include Marianne Bronner, Edward B. Lewis Professor of Biology and director of the Beckman Institute, in 2013.
Read more about Zernicka-Goetz's research and mentorship here: /about/news/conversation-magdalena-zernicka-goetz