Professor Margaret Buckingham FRS

Margaret Buckingham is a developmental biologist who has transformed our understanding of the formation of the heart and skeletal muscles. Using mouse molecular genetics, she showed how genes for contractile proteins are activated as muscle cells differentiate.

She went on to identify the upstream role of Pax3 in controlling the destiny of cells that will form muscle in the embryo and, subsequently, in maintaining the muscle stem cell population. Her isolation from adult muscles of Pax3-positive stem cells that are responsible for muscle repair led to new mechanistic insights into tissue regeneration.

Margaret overturned the conventional view of how the heart forms in the mammalian embryo with her discovery of the ‘second heart field’ — a novel source of cardiac cells which derive from a second heart cell lineage. These cardiac stem cells are regulated by a distinct gene network, implicated in congenital heart defects. Margaret is an Officier de la Légion d’Honneur and Commandeur de l’Ordre National du Mérite. In 2013, she received the CNRS Gold Medal, France’s most prestigious scientific distinction.

Professional position

  • Honorary Professor, Institut Pasteur
  • Emeritus Research Director, CNRS

Subject groups

  • Microbiology, immunology and developmental biology

    Developmental biology

  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology

    Cell biology (incl molecular cell biology)