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Fellows Directory

Richard Gardner

Sir Richard Gardner FRS


Elected: 1979


Richard Gardner is a developmental biologist who devised techniques for performing microsurgery on mammalian embryos, paving the way to a greater understanding of embryonic development, cell differentiation, and control of the cell cycle and gene action. He has also investigated the potential of stem cells for use in regenerative medicine.

Richard developed techniques for dissecting the blastocyst — a cell structure formed in early mammalian development — into individual tissues. This enabled him to produce the first reliable map to indicate the embryonic precursor cells of specific adult tissues. His research on stem cells examined the effects of long-term culture on their capacity to differentiate normally and suggested that subtle epigenetic changes could compromise their value in regenerative medicine.

During his working life, Richard won many awards, including the 1977 Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London. He chaired the Royal Society working group on stem cells and cloning and was a member of the Scientific and Clinical Advances Group of the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority.

Interests and expertise

Subject groups


  • Royal Medals

    For his pioneering work on microsurgery of the mouse blastocyst which laid the foundation for major advances in biological knowledge, both in developmental biology and in understanding of gene function. His work also provided the inspiration for the development of other transgenic and micromanipulation techniques, including those used more recently for mammalian cloning.