John White’s work has led to an understanding of the complete pattern of synaptic connectivity of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. He identified the first gene with a demonstrated role in determining synaptic specificity. He studied the role of cell–cell interaction in determining the lineage pattern, stimulating a wide field of research. In more recent work, John and his co-workers partially confirmed his earlier model of cytokinesis; they discovered genes controlling cytokinesis and found features previously thought specific to plant cell division. Recognising the potentialities of laser-scanning confocal microscopy, John built a prototype microscope: with Brad Amos he developed this into a commercially produced instrument now widely used, which was distinguished by the Mullard Award of the Royal Society and other awards.
Interest and expertise
Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
Cell biology (incl molecular cell biology)
Microbiology, immunology and developmental biology
Genetics (excluding population genetics)
Royal Society Mullard Award
In recognition of their development of the MRC-600 series laser-scanning confocal imaging system, an ingenious and innovative means of improving the clarity and definition of microscopes.