Category Archives: Awards

2022 BSDB Waddington Medal winner: Val Wilson

The Waddington Medal is the only national award in Developmental Biology. It honours outstanding research performance as well as services to the subject community. The medal is awarded annually at the BSDB Spring Meeting, where the recipient presents the Waddington Medal Lecture.


We are very pleased to announce that this year’s Waddington medal winner is Professor Valerie Wilson, Personal Chair in Early Embryo Development at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh. Val’s research career has led to several seminal contributions to mammalian development, built on highly specialist skills in the micromanipulation and culture of mouse embryos.

Val began her research career as a PhD student in the lab of Martin Evans, in the Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge. She then moves to the lab of Rosa Beddington for her post-doctoral training where she mastered skills in the culture whole mouse embryos ex vivo, enabling her tackle fundamental problems in how the mammalian body axis is established during early development. A key contribution during this time was the use of chimeric embryos consisting of genetically marked mutant ES cells injected into wild type blastocysts. By performing this experiment with cells mutant for the early mesodermal marker, T (or brachyury), it was possible to demonstrate a cell autonomous requirement for this transcription factor in the transition of cells through the primitive streak (Wilson et al., 1995).

She then learned postimplantation mouse embryology, most crucially the micromanipulation and culture of whole embryos ex vivo, under the supervision of Rosa Beddington. During this time, she investigated the role of the transcription factor T(brachyury) in mouse antero-posterior axis elongation, using genetically marked mutant ES cells injected into wild type blastocysts to create chimeras.  These studies were early milestones in the transgenic mouse field as they showed that T cell-autonomously permits cells to pass through the primitive streak during late gastrulation to become mesoderm. Beautifully, Val has returned to this initial discovery using modern single cell sequencing technologies in collaboration with the labs of John Marioni and Göttgens to investigate the alterations in gene expression trajectories that T mutant cells take when developing in chimeric embryos (Guibentif et al.,2021).

Perhaps one of the most striking and important discoveries from Val’s career has arisen from her study of anterior-posterior body axis elongation. A series of remarkable finding involving serial transplantations of cell populations from older to younger embryos had demonstrated the existence of a population of stem cells capable of outliving their normal potential and continually giving rise to both spinal cord and paraxial mesodermal derivatives. First, in the caudal-lateral epiblast adjacent to the node (Cambray and Wilson, 2002), and later in the chordal-neural hinge (Cambray and Wilson, 2007). Recognising that to a full investigation of their biology requires lineage tracing of individual cells, Val embarked on an extensive retrospective clonal analysis study of mouse development together with her then-PhD student, Elena Tzouanacou and the lab of Jean-Francois Niçolas at the Insitut Pasteur, Paris. Through a thorough and systematic analysis of single cell clones from thousands of labelled embryos, it was possible to demonstrate the existence of a bipotent stem cell population called Neuromesodermal Progenitors that defy early germ layer specification and continue to generate both spinal cord and paraxial mesoderm derivatives throughout somitogenesis in the mouse embryo (Tzouanacou et al., 2009).

“Many of Val’s contributions are not recognised by authorship on papers. She is regularly consulted by early career researchers and group leaders from other labs seeking insights into their own data or technical help due to her micromanipulation skills. She always shares her time and expertise generously while asking nothing in return. Therefore, many of her valuable contributions to the community and the field remain largely unseen”.

  • Anahi Binagui-Casas

Val’s contributions to our fundamental understanding of mammalian developmental biology will continue to have a long-term impact in the field. It is because of her skills in embryology and teaching that she has been able to change the way we look at the mouse embryo, and she is therefore routinely consulted by developmental biologists for help and advice. A recent contribution has included working together with Kirstie Lawson to provide a revised mouse embryo staging guide, that has been essential in informing definitions included in the eMouseAtlas.  It is such long-lasting contributions to the field that are deserving of the BSDB Waddington medal, 2022.

Selected papers:

Wilson, V., Manson, L., Skarnes, W. C. & Beddington, R. S. (1995) The T gene is necessary for normal mesodermal morphogenetic cell movements during gastrulation. Development 121, 3, p. 877-86 10 p.

Carolina Guibentif, Jonathan A. Griffiths, Ivan Imaz-Rosshandler, Shila Ghazanfar, Jennifer Nichols, Valerie Wilson, Berthold Göttgens, John C. Marioni (2021). Diverse Routes toward Early Somites in the Mouse Embryo, Developmental Cell, Volume 56, Issue 1.

Cambray, N., and Wilson, V. (2002). Axial progenitors with extensive potency are localised to the mouse chordoneural hinge. Development 129, 4855–4866.

Cambray, N., and Wilson, V. (2007). Two distinct sources for a population of maturing axial progenitors. Development 134, 2829–2840.

2022 Cheryll Tickle Award winner: Emma Rawlins

In 2016, the BSDB introduced the Cheryll Tickle Medal, which is being awarded annually to a mid-career, female scientist for her outstanding achievements in the field of Developmental Biology. The BSDB is proud to announce the 2022 awardee as Dr.  Emma Rawlins!

Emma is an international leader in the field of mammalian lung development and disease. She has been awarded the March of Dimes Basil O’Connor Award (2011), the EuroSyStem Innovative project award (2010) and has been the recipient of highly competitive MRC career development and MRC Senior Fellowships. She was promoted to Senior Group Leader at the Gurdon Institute in 2020, and is a member of the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge. She is also co-Director of the Wellcome funded Human Developmental Biology Initiative.

Emma obtained her PhD in developmental biology from the University of Edinburgh in 2002, working with Andrew Jarman on cell fate specification in the developing Drosophila PNS. She then moved to Duke University for her Post-Doctoral work with Brigid Hogan from 2004-2009. Her work during this time is probably best described as ‘prolific’, involving a series of highly important papers characterising cell lineages and stem cell populations during the development and homeostasis and repair of the mouse lung, summarised in this review (Rawlins, 2011).

Upon establishing her independent research group in the Gurdon Institute in 2009, Emma continued her emphasis on better understanding clonal relationships of cells during mouse lung development, uncovering fundamental principles of stem cell biology as she did so (Watson et al., 2015; Balasooriya et al., 2016; Laresgoiti et al., 2016; Balasooriya et al., 2017). She then pioneered the development of human lung organoids, becoming a world leader in the use of organoid cultures to study aspects of human development and organogenesis (Nikolić et al., 2017).

More recently, Emma’s team has developed a powerful “Organoid Easytag” system to genetically manipulate human cells using CRISPR technology (Sun et al., 2021). Already, this technology is being exploited by multiple labs across the world and is opening up the study of human organogenesis even further, enabling the use of CRISPR screens to uncover novel molecular mechanisms (Sun et al., 2022).

“She (Emma) has established a very extensive network of collaborators both within and outside the University, and she places a strong emphasis on mentoring her trainees, helping them define and achieve their individual career goals. Emma is highly collegial and interactive, and she can be counted on for high quality contributions in diverse areas”.

  • Julie Ahringer and Shankar Srivinas

Clearly, Emma’s commitment to both gaining fundamental insights into developmental biology and providing a supportive environment both inside and outside her lab, makes her very deserving of the 2022 BSDB Cheryll Tickle medal!





Selected papers:

Rawlins E. L. The building blocks of mammalian lung development. (2011) Developmental Dynamics 240, 463-476.

Watson, JK, Rulands S, Wilkinson AC, Wuidart A, Ousset M, Van Keymeulen A, Göttgens B, Blanpain C, Simons BD, Rawlins EL. (2015). Clonal dynamics reveal two distinct populations of basal cells in slow turnover airway epithelium. Cell Reports 12, 90-101.

Balasooriya GI, Johnson J, Basson MA, Rawlins EL. (2016) An FGFR1-SPRY2 signalling axis limits basal cell proliferation in the steady-state airway epithelium. Developmental Cell 37, 85-97.

Laresgoiti U, Nikolić MZ, Rao C, Brady JL, Richardson RV, Batchen EJ, Chapman KE and Rawlins EL (2016) Lung epithelial tip progenitors integrate Glucocorticoid and STAT3-mediated signals to control progeny fate. Development 143, 3686-3699.

Balasooriya GI, Goschorska M, Piddini E, Rawlins EL (2017) FGFR2 is required for airway basal cell self-renewal and terminal differentiation. Development 144, 1600-1606.

Nikolić MZ, Caritg O, Jeng Q, Johnson J, Sun D, Howell, KJ, Brady JL, Laresgoiti U, Allen G, Butler R, Zilbauer M, Giangreco A, Rawlins EL (2017) Human embryonic lung epithelial tips are multipotent progenitors that can be expanded in vitro as long-term self-renewing organoids. elife. 2017 Jun 30. doi: 10.7554/eLife.26575.

Sun D, Evans LD, Perrone F, Sokleva V, Lim K, Rezakhani S, Lutolf M, Zilbauer M, Rawlins EL (2021) A functional genetic toolbox for human tissue-derived organoids. eLife DOI: 10.7554/eLife.67886

Sun D, Batlle OL, van den Ameele J, Thomas C, He P, Lim K, Tang W, Xu C, Meyer KB, Teichmann SA, Marioni J, Jackson SP, Brand AH, Rawlins EL. An organoid CRISPRi screen revealed that SOX9 primes human fetal lung tip progenitors to receive WNT and RTK signals. BioRxiv:

Waddington Medal Winner 2020: Ottoline Leyser

The Waddington Medal is the only national award in Developmental Biology. It honours outstanding research performance as well as services to the subject community. The medal is awarded annually at the BSDB Spring Meeting, where the recipient presents the Waddington Medal Lecture.

We are very pleased to announce that this year’s Waddington medal winner is Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser DBE FRS. After having served on the BSDB committee and then as treasurer (1999-2009), and only recently having stepped down as our chair, her efforts in supporting our community are well known. This prize will add to

a number of Ottoline’s awards that include listing in the 2017 New Year Honours list as DBE for her services to plant science, science in society and equality and diversity in the sciences. She has also been awarded the Society of Experimental Biology’s President’s Medal (2000), the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award (2007), the International Plant Growth Substance Association’s Silver Medal (2010), the UK Genetics Society Med

al (2016) and the EMBO Women in Science Award (2017). She is also a fellow of the Royal Society, an foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences, a member of EMBO and the Leopoldina. So, we are very pleased to be able to add the 2020 Waddington medal to this list, in recognition of her contributions to UK Developmental Biology research and our community.

Ottoline’s career began as an undergraduate and then PhD student in the Department of Genetics at the University of Cambridge. She then travelled to Indiana University as part of her post-doctoral research before establishing her lab through a lectureship at the University of York in 1994. In 2011 she was instrumental in establishing the Sainsbury lab in Cambridge, where she is now director.

“Ottoline’s current research programme remains refreshing and exciting, embracing computational modelling, quantitative traits and selective breeding to give an integrated systems view of the regulation of plant form”. Tanya Whitfield and Nick Monk, University of Sheffield.

Ottoline’s work has resulted in huge advances in our knowledge of hormone action during the control of branching in plant development. Notable contributions include being among the first to exploit the advantages of Arabidopsis as a model species to study hormone action. In doing so, she revealed the mechanism by which the classical plant hormone auxin act

s, having identified the auxin receptor in collaboration with Mark Estelle. In addition, she has do

ne pioneering work in understanding the function of MAX genes in controlling branching. Her work exemplifies how a creative application of inter-disciplinary approaches, experimental embryology and genetics can be combined together to understand the fundamental principles of development. In doing so, it represents the very best of developmental biology and communicates clearly the excitement that can derived from research in our subject.

“She has also been a great advocate for Science, Women, and developmental biology in the political arena as well as for the general public”. Claudio Stern (University College London) and Enrico Coen (John Innes Centre).

Alongside her research career, Ottoline has driven many initiatives for improve equality and diversity in the Sciences. One of her best-known contributions has been the publication of her booklet “Mothers in Science: 64 ways to have it all”. Her approach here was to lead by example, and has proven to be very effective. We encourage our members to read recent interviews with Ottoline that can be found in Development and the Royal Society of Biology.

“When I was pregnant with twins and trying to run my newly-formed research group I came across Ottoline’s little book “Mothers In Science”. It was so important to me, and is just one example of the many things that Ottoline has done that have been important to so many people.” Sally Lowell, University of Edinburgh.

Ottoline continues to make substantial contributions to both teaching and research aspects of the Developmental biology community. Recent examples include serving on the Editorial Board of Development, sitting on the Nuffield council on Bioethics, and being a Member of Council of the Royal Society. She has been co-Editor in Chief for Current Opinion Plant Biology.  Ottoline is also a committed teacher of developmental biology, and is the joint author of the textbook Mechanisms in Plant Development (Leyser and Day, 2003, Blackwell Science Ltd).


Selected papers:

Leyser HM, Lincoln CA, Timpte C, Lammer D, Turner J, Estelle M (1993). Arabidopsis auxin-resistance gene AXR1 encodes a protein related to ubiquitin-activating enzyme E1. Nature 364:161-4.

Rouse D, Mackay P, Stirnberg P, Estelle M, Leyser O (1998).  Changes in auxin response from mutations in an AUX/IAA gene. Science 279:1371-3.

Sabatini, S; Beis, D; Wolkenfelt, H; et al. (1999). An auxin-dependent distal organizer of pattern and polarity in the Arabidopsis root. Cell. 99: 463-472.

Gray, WM; Kepinski, S; Rouse, D; et al. (2001). Auxin regulates SCFTIR1-dependent degradation of AUX/IAA proteins. Nature 414: 271-276.

Stirnberg P, van De Sande K, Leyser HM (2002).  MAX1 and MAX2 control lateral shoot branching in Arabidopsis. Development 129:1131-41.

Sorefan, K; Booker, J; Haurogne, K; et al. MAX4 and RMS1 are orthologous dioxygenase-like genes that regulate shoot branching in Arabidopsis and pea. (2003). Genes & Development. 17: 1469-1474.

Booker, J; Auldridge, M; Wills, S; et al. (2004). MAX3/CCD7 is a carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase required for the synthesis of a novel plant signaling molecule. Current Biology. 14:1232-1238.

Kepinski S, Leyser O (2005). The Arabidopsis F-box protein TIR1 is an auxin receptor. Nature 435:446-51.

Shinohara N, Taylor C, Leyser O (2013).  Strigolactone can promote or inhibit shoot branching by triggering rapid depletion of the auxin efflux protein PIN1 from the plasma membrane.  PLoS Biol. 11:e1001474.

Acknowledgements: B.Steventon would like to thank Tanya Whitfield, Nick Monk, Claudio Stern and Enrico Coen for their contributions to this text.

Beddington award winner 2020: Wajid Jawaid

The Beddington Medal is the BSDB’s major commendation to promising young biologists, awarded for the best PhD thesis in Developmental Biology defended in the year previous to the award. Rosa Beddington was one of the greatest talents and inspirational leaders in the field of developmental biology. Rosa made an enormous contribution to the field in general and to the BSDB in particular, so it seemed entirely appropriate that the Society should establish a lasting memorial to her. The design of the medal, mice on a stylised DNA helix, is from artwork by Rosa herself.

Wajid Jawaid is a national trainee in Paediatric Surgery in the London Deanery currently based at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge. Alongside his clinical work, Wajid has maintained a strong interest in research. His interests lie in the early development of mammalian embryos and how this relates to the challenging congenital anomalies he faces in his neonatal and paediatric patients. Wajid’s PhD work has identified novel pathways by studying murine gastrulation and early organogenesis at a single cell level. This has required him to develop molecular approaches together with the development of novel computational methods.

While working as a practising paediatric surgeon, Wajid was inspired to take on a PhD in 2014 under the supervision of Prof. Berthold Göttgens and Prof. Jenny Nichols at the Wellcome-MRC Stem Cell Institute, University of Cambridge. Here, he learnt how defects in the early lineage specification events of mammalian embryos can explain many of the tragic infant deformities that he was faced with in his clinic. In preparation for his PhD, he had previously undertaken and MPhil in Computational Biology at the Department of Mathematics and Applied Physics at the University of Cambridge, for which he was awarded a distinction. Thus, it is easy to see how his foundations in three alternate disciplines (medicine, computer science and embryology) has enabled him to produce a PhD thesis of exceptionally high quality, for which he is deserving of the 2020 BSDB Beddington award.

Wajid contributed to eight papers during his PhD, two of which were as first author. For his co-first author publication in 2016, Wajid pioneered a novel approach to investigate mesoderm formation by generating the first single cell transcriptome analysis of early mouse gastrulae. He found that Tal1, a transcription factor initially believed to be required to pause nascent mesoderm in an uncommitted state, is not essential for diverting cells exiting the primitive streak from precocious cardiac development. Wajid’s contribution to this study included dissection of early postimplantation mouse embryos (E6.5), as well as processing and analysis of the scRNAseq data. For his co-first author paper of 2018, a more ambitious RNAseq data set was generated from embryos of a range of stages to enable a deeper understanding of cell fate decisions during gastrulation to be garnered. Wajid masterminded and organised the timed mating for embryo production, and recruited the dissection team, since this large-scale undertaking required rapid collection of single cells.

In addition to his work in in the lab, he used his expanding computational skills to contribute extensively to the bioinformatics analysis. Wajid generated an interactive web tool and personally instructed members and associates of the gastrulation consortium on its operation. This ambitious study contributed novel understanding of how somatic cell types may be ordered and, crucially, revealed a role for leukotriene induction, via Alox5 and its cofactor, Alox5a, in specification of erythromyeloid progenitors from haemogenic endothelium precursors. Wajid then returned to the lab to employ an in vitro assay using embryonic stem cells to demonstrate a role for leukotriene in driving blood formation.

Outside of these major contributions of his PhD work, Wajid collaborated extensively and is a co-author on multiple studies. These include a project with Shlomit Edri and Alfonso Martinez Arias to explore the transcriptomic signature marking neuromesodermal progenitors in aggregates of mouse embryonic stem cells allowed to develop in 3D culture, or gastruloids. He also worked with mouse embryos to study the role of Nanog during gastrulation together with a visiting PhD student, Julio Sainz de Aja. In addition, he contributed to a larger group of researchers who together performed dynamic single cell RNAseq analysis of mouse embryos during gastrulation.

Wajid is now established in Cambridge as a paediatric surgeon, and has established a career plan with his head of department to return to developmental biology as a surgeon scientist later this year, a very rare breed of individuals who combine an active career in surgery with research at the bench.

Finally I leave you with some thoughts on Wajid from our 2017 Cheryll Tickle award winner- Prof. Jenny Nichols:

“I am comforted to know that sick children will benefit from the depth of knowledge and dexterity Wajid acquired during his PhD that will ensure the best possible treatment for them at the hands of a genuinely compassionate and competent individual”.

“It was always a pleasure for me to work at the bench alongside Wajid; his enthusiasm, wit and generally sunny disposition, even at antisocial times of night, made the experiments a lot of fun, and I knew I could rely on his reagents and high standards to ensure a meaningful (and publishable) outcome. Wajid’s participation in various projects was also in demand further afield”.


Ben Steventon and Jenny Nichols.


Selected papers:

Ibarra-Soria X*, Jawaid W*, Pijuan-Sala B, Ladopoulos V, Scialdone A, Jörg DJ et al. Defining murine organo- genesis at single-cell resolution reveals a role for the leukotriene pathway in regulating blood progenitor forma- tion. Nat Cell Biol. 2018 Feb;20(2):127-134

Scialdone A*, Tanaka Y*, Jawaid W*, Moignard V*, Wilson NK, Macaulay IC et al. Resolving early mesoderm diversification through single-cell expression profiling. Nature. 2016 Jul 14;535(7611):289-293

Pijuan-Sala B, Griffiths JA, Guibentif C, Hiscock TW, Jawaid W, Calero-Nieto FJ et al. A single-cell molecular map of mouse gastrulation and early organogenesis. Nature. 2019 Feb;566(7745):490-495

Edri S, Hayward P, Jawaid W, Martinez Arias A. Neuro-mesodermal progenitors (NMPs): a comparative study between pluripotent stem cells and embryo-derived populations. Development. 2019 Jun 24;146(12)

Belluschi S, Calderbank EF, Ciaurro V, Pijuan-Sala B, Santoro A, Mende Net al. Myelo-lymphoid lineage restric- tion occurs in the human haematopoietic stem cell compartment before lymphoid-primed multipotent progen- itors. Nat Comm. 2018 Oct:9

Moignard V, Woodhouse S, Haghverdi L, Lilly AJ, Tanaka Y, Wilkinson AC et al. Decoding the regulatory network of early blood development from single-cell gene expression measurements. Nat Biotechnol. 2015 Mar;33(3):269- 76

Tatjana Sauka-Spengler- Winner of the 2020 Cheryll Tickle medal

In 2016, the BSDB introduced the Cheryll Tickle Medal, which is being awarded annually to a mid-career, female scientist for her outstanding achievements in the field of Developmental Biology.

The BSDB is proud to announce the 2020 awardee, Tatjana Sauka-Spengler

Originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tatjana completed her undergraduate studies in Physics at the University of Sarajevo and soon after sought asylum from the Bosnian War in Czech Republic, where she became a High School teacher at the Gymnazium of Pardubice (1992-93). Having obtained her first graduate degree in Solid State Physics at the University of Paris (1999), Tatjana was selected for the “Interface Physics-Biology” Graduate programme and after discovering a passion for developmental biology at the MBL Embryology Course in Woods Hole, she pursued a second PhD in Biology in the group of Sylvie Mazan at the University of Paris, with whom she worked to elucidate the conserved gene regulatory mechanisms of gastrulation (1-3). She then went on to work as a postdoctoral researcher in the group of Marianne Bronner at the California Institute of Technology. There, she pioneered experimental approaches to study gene regulation in vivo using avian embryos (4,5). In parallel, she developed methodologies to for the study the genomics of the sea lamprey, Petromyzon marinus (6,7). Tatjana spearheaded the establishment of a system in the Bronner lab to efficiently produce sea lamprey embryos throughout the summer, which became so successful that it still attracts researchers from all over the world for the “lamprey season” in Caltech. This enabled Tatjana to pioneer molecular biology approaches in lampreys, including loss-of-function experiments and the development of enhancer reporter assays. This early work laid the foundation for her subsequent contributions to illuminate the evolution of vertebrates, through the window of comparative studies of neural crest gene regulatory networks (reviewed in (8)).

In 2012 she became a group leader in the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (WIMM) at the University of Oxford, where s

he was awarded the prestigious Lister Institute Research Prize (2013) and the March of Dimes Basil O’Connor Research Award (2013). Her keen interest in emerging technologies and the development of novel molecular biology tools allowed her to consistently stay at the forefront of regulatory genomics in developmental biology. Indeed, Tatjana pioneered enhancer screens to identify thousands of cell-type specific cis-regulatory elements in avian and zebrafish embryos, which together with single cell genomics allow for the reverse engineering of entire gene regulatory networks (9). Tatjana is extremely dedicated to carrying out her research meticulously and strives to broaden the range of technologies employed (i.e. Cut-and-Run- sequencing, machine learning approaches to next generation sequencing analysis) in order to break the boundaries of research in her field. Now an Associate Professor for Genome Biology at the University of Oxford generously supported by the Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship (2019), the Sauka-Spengler lab uses the neural crest, the enteric nervous system and the zebrafish heart epicardium to explore the dynamics of gene regulatory networks in development, regeneration, disease and evolution (9-17).

What further distinguishes Tatjana as a Cheryll Tickle awardee is her passion and dedication to the fostering of young talent in the field developmental biology. This stretches beyond the mentoring of her own group, and breadth of support we have received in her nominations for the award is a true testament to her contributions to the developmental biology community in the UK. There is no better way to understand this than through the words of the many people who have benefitted from her knowledge and energy since establishing her lab in 2012. I’ll therefore leave you with the following quotes, that do so well to emphasize how deserving she is of this award.

 “As her mentees, we believe Tatjana’s unique mentorship style is her most outstanding characteristic, and the achievements she seems to be most proud of are those of the people she mentored. Indeed, her first graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and advisees are now establishing their labs (i.e., Betancur lab in UCSF, Hockman lab, Uni. of Cape Town, Simoes-Costa lab in Cornell Uni., Strobl-Mazzulla lab in IIB-INTECH, Argentina). Testament to this, in 2018 she was awarded the RDM Award for Excellent Supervision (University of Oxford)”.  Chloe E. Tubman and Ivan L. Candido-Ferreira, DPhil candidates, University of Oxford.

“Tatjana is an inspirational role model for trainees and in particular for female scientists, for whom she provides guidance on balancing work and home life and inspires the confidence and direction to pursue individual goals”. Prof. Paul Riley, University of Oxford

“Simply put, Tatjana is an outstanding supervisor and mentor, not only to the people directly working with her, but also to any other junior scientist that approaches her for guidance”. Dr. Filipa Simões, University of Oxford.

“With her relentless energy and enthusiasm for excellent science combined with extensive knowledge and capacity to inspire, she has been a fantastic mentor. She sees the positive side of every situation and always provides a resolution, whether it be an experimental problem, writer’s block or personal matters”. Dr. Ruth Williams, University of Oxford.

“During our long-term collaboration Tatjana has hosted and supervised a number of my PhD students and post-doctoral fellows in her lab at the WIMM and trained them in maximising use of the zebrafish model to study heart development and regeneration. She has individually tutored my group members in bioinformatics to analyse RNA-Seq and ATAC-Seq datasets and modified gene editing approaches, which has been invaluable for the next stages of their research careers”. Prof. Paul Riley, University of Oxford.

“Tatjana very readily welcomes visiting scientists to her laboratory. She also generously shares her expertise and knowledge with collaborators. For example, she has applied her in vivo biotinylation approach in zebrafish (10,18), which enables the isolation of specific cell populations by affinity purification, to characterize the neutrophil response to mycobacterium infection (19). With colleagues she applied this approach to characterize different epicardial subpopulations (17), and has discovered how macrophages contribute to cardiac regeneration (16)”.  Prof. Andrea Munsterberg, UEA

Ben Steventon,

Biography adapted from Chloe E. Tubman and Ivan L. Candido-Ferreira, DPhil candidates, University of Oxford. Additional input and editing provided by Tatjana Sauka-Spengler.

Selected papers:

  1. Sauka-Spengler, T., B. Baratte, M. Lepage, and S. Mazan, Characterization of Brachyury genes in the dogfish S. canicula and the lamprey L. fluviatilis. Insights into gastrulation in a chondrichthyan. Dev Biol, 2003. 263(2): p. 296-307.
  2. Sauka-Spengler, T., B. Baratte, L. Shi, and S. Mazan, Structure and expression of an Otx5-related gene in the dogfish Scyliorhinus canicula: evidence for a conserved role of Otx5 and Crxgenes in the specification of photoreceptors. Dev Genes Evol, 2001. 211(11): p. 533-44.
  3. Sauka-Spengler, T., A. Germot, D.L. Shi, and S. Mazan, Expression patterns of an Otx2 and an Otx5 orthologue in the urodele Pleurodeles waltl: implications on the evolutionary relationships between the balancers and cement gland in amphibians. Dev Genes Evol, 2002. 212(8): p. 380-7.
  4. Betancur, P., M. Bronner-Fraser, and T. Sauka-Spengler, Genomic code for Sox10 activation reveals a key regulatory enhancer for cranial neural crest. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2010. 107(8): p. 3570-5.
  5. Sauka-Spengler, T. and M. Barembaum, Gain- and loss-of-function approaches in the chick embryo. Methods Cell Biol, 2008. 87: p. 237-56.
  6. Nikitina, N., M. Bronner-Fraser, and T. Sauka-Spengler, The sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus: a model for evolutionary and developmental biology. Cold Spring Harb Protoc, 2009. 2009(1): p. pdb emo113.
  7. Sauka-Spengler, T., D. Meulemans, M. Jones, and M. Bronner-Fraser, Ancient evolutionary origin of the neural crest gene regulatory network. Dev Cell, 2007. 13(3): p. 405-20.
  8. Sauka-Spengler, T. and M. Bronner-Fraser, A gene regulatory network orchestrates neural crest formation. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol, 2008. 9(7): p. 557-68.
  9. Williams, R.M., et al., Reconstruction of the Global Neural Crest Gene Regulatory Network In Vivo. Dev Cell, 2019. 51(2): p. 255-276 e7.
  10. Trinh, L.A., V. Chong-Morrison, D. Gavriouchkina, T. Hochgreb-Hagele, U. Senanayake, S.E. Fraser, and T. Sauka-Spengler, Biotagging of Specific Cell Populations in Zebrafish Reveals Gene Regulatory Logic Encoded in the Nuclear Transcriptome. Cell Rep, 2017. 19(2): p. 425-440.
  11. Williams, R.M., U. Senanayake, M. Artibani, G. Taylor, D. Wells, A.A. Ahmed, and T. Sauka-Spengler, Genome and epigenome engineering CRISPR toolkit for in vivo modulation of cis-regulatory interactions and gene expression in the chicken embryo. Development, 2018. 145(4).
  12. Kenyon, A., D. Gavriouchkina, J. Zorman, V. Chong-Morrison, G. Napolitani, V. Cerundolo, and T. Sauka-Spengler, Generation of a double binary transgenic zebrafish model to study myeloid gene regulation in response to oncogene activation in melanocytes. Dis Model Mech, 2018. 11(4).
  13. Lukoseviciute, M., et al., From Pioneer to Repressor: Bimodal foxd3 Activity Dynamically Remodels Neural Crest Regulatory Landscape In Vivo. Dev Cell, 2018. 47(5): p. 608-628 e6.
  14. Hockman, D., et al., A genome-wide assessment of the ancestral neural crest gene regulatory network. Nat Commun, 2019. 10(1): p. 4689.
  15. Ling, I.T.C. and T. Sauka-Spengler, Early chromatin shaping predetermines multipotent vagal neural crest into neural, neuronal and mesenchymal lineages. Nat Cell Biol, 2019. 21(12): p. 1504-1517.
  16. Simoes, F.C., et al., Macrophages directly contribute collagen to scar formation during zebrafish heart regeneration and mouse heart repair. Nat Commun, 2020. 11(1): p. 600.
  17. Weinberger, M., F.C. Simões, R. Patient, T. Sauka-Spengler*, and P.R. Riley*, Functional heterogeneity within the developing zebrafish epicardium. Dev Cell, 2020: p. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2020.01.023.
  18. Trinh, L.A., V. Chong-Morrison, and T. Sauka-Spengler, Biotagging, an in vivo biotinylation approach for cell-type specific subcellular profiling in zebrafish. Methods, 2018. 150: p. 24-31.
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