Gail Roberta Martin is a professor emerita in the Department of Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco. She is known for her pioneering work on the isolation from normal mouse embryos of pluripotent stem cells, for which she coined the term ‘embryonic stem cells’. She is also widely recognized for her work on the function of Fibroblast Growth Factors (FGFs) in the development of many organs including the limb and the role of negative feedback mechanisms for regulating FGF signaling in the mammalian embryo. These studies led to an appreciation of the exquisite sensitivity of developmental and cell biological processes to even small changes in the level of FGF signaling in vertebrate organogenesis.
Martin has received numerous awards and honors including the Edwin Grant Conklin Medal from the Society for Developmental Biology (2002), the Pearl Meister Greengard Prize (Rockefeller University, 2007), an honorary Doctorate of Science (DSc [Med]) from University College London (2011) and election as a member of the US National Academy of Sciences (Section 22, Cell and Developmental Biology, 2002).