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Fellows Directory

David Ish-Horowicz

David Ish-Horowicz

Professor David Ish-Horowicz FRS


Elected: 2002




David Ish-Horowicz’s research investigates the molecular and genetic mechanisms that establish, maintain and elaborate spatial organisation in vivo, in particular in Drosophila and vertebrate embryos. These studies have led to major advances in our understanding of many distinct and conserved molecular processes that are used to pattern developing animals.

His work identified the first metazoan corepressor, Groucho, which — in conjunction with a wide variety of transcriptional repressors — prevents inappropriate transcription in many tissue contexts. He also showed how asymmetric protein production within the cell is achieved by transport of selected mRNAs along microtubules to specific cytoplasmic subregions.

David also demonstrated that Notch intercellular signalling acts in vertebrate embryos to maintain a population of neuronal stem cells, and how the pathway also underlies the cyclic gene transcription which controls the regular production of reiterated body segments in vertebrate embryos. For this and other work, he received the 1997 Gulbenkian Science Prize and the 2007 Waddington Medal of the British Society of Developmental Biology.

Professional positions

Professor, MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology, University College London (UCL)

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
    • Cell biology (incl molecular cell biology)


RNA biology , Embryonic pattern formation

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