Sir John Gurdon FRS
John Gurdon is a Nobel Prize-winning developmental biologist who performed pioneering research on nuclear transplantation and cloning. In his seminal experiment, John replaced the nucleus of a frog egg with the nucleus of a mature cell from the tadpole intestine. The resulting embryo grew into a healthy clone of the tadpole — indicating that, despite their specialisation, the nuclei of adult cells still hold the potential to become any other type of cell.
However, John’s discovery could not be fully confirmed until Shinya Yamanaka — with whom he was jointly awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine — identified a small set of proteins expressed in embryos that conclusively induced the reversion of an adult somatic cell to an immature state.
John currently investigates the mechanisms by which egg cells reverse the specialisation of adult cells, aiming to produce replacements for damaged tissues from readily available sources, such as the skin. He was knighted for services to developmental biology in 1995, and the techniques that he developed to perform nuclear transfer remain in use today.
Interest and expertise
- Microbiology, immunology and developmental biology