The 2017 Ross Harrison Prize awarded to Claudio Stern
The 2017 Ross Harrison Prize awarded to Claudio Stern

2017-05-11 - 2017-05-11


The 2017 Ross Harrison Prize

Established in 1981, the Ross Harrison Prize
commemorates the life and work of the American
biologist Ross Granville Harrison, one of the
pioneers of experimental embryology who
developed and applied tissue culture techniques to
the study of embryonic tissue development and axon
outgrowth. The prize is awarded once every four
years at the ISDB Congress in recognition of an
individual’s outstanding contributions to
developmental biology. The first Harrison Prize was
awarded jointly to Donald D. Brown and Victor
Hamburger – more recent recipients include Janet
Rossant (2013) Eddy De Robertis (2009) and Elliot
Meyerowitz (2005).

It is my great pleasure to announce that this year, the
Prize is to be awarded to Claudio Stern, J Z Young
Professor of Anatomy at University College London
(UCL) and a past President of the ISDB. Born in
Montevideo, Uruguay, Claudio graduated in
Biological Sciences at the University of Sussex in
England where he also gained his PhD under the
supervision of Brian Goodwin. Following
postdoctoral research at UCL and a brief spell as a
university demonstrator in Cambridge, he took up a
lectureship in anatomy at Oxford University, before
being appointed Chair of Genetics and Development
at Columbia University Medical School, New York
in 1994. In 2001 he returned to the UK to take up his
current post at UCL, where he also served as Head
of the Department of Anatomy until 2011.

As one of the world’s leading chick embryologists,
Claudio’s research had focused on the processes that
establish cell diversity and pattern in the early
embryo, and particularly on understanding how
complexity is established and how the “programme”
for embryonic development is encoded in the
genome. He has made a number of landmark
discoveries in the course of his distinguished career:
with Roger Keynes, he showed that somites are
subdivided into anterior and posterior halves and
that this governs segmentation of the peripheral
nervous system; with Cliff Tabin, he discovered the
first genes found to regulate left-right asymmetry;
and he and his colleagues have uncovered several
aspects of the molecular basis of neural induction
and of the mechanisms of gastrulation in higher
vertebrate embryos.

Claudio is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society,
the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and the Latin-
American Academy of Sciences, as well as a
Foreign Honorary Member of the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of
EMBO. In 2006 he was awarded the Waddington
Medal by the British Society for Developmental
Biology. It seems particularly fitting that he is now
the recipient of the Ross Harrison prize,
commemorating as it does the achievements of
another great experimental embryologist.

Philip W Ingham FRS

President of the ISDB
Chair of the Ross Harrison Prize Committee of


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