John Gurdon

John Gurdon

2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Sir John Gurdon is an English developmental biologist. He is best known for his pioneering research in nuclear transplantation and cloning. In 2012, he and Shinya Yamanaka were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for the discovery that mature cells can be converted to stem cells.

Education and Work Experience

  • 1960, DPhil, Department of Zoology, Oxford
  • 1965-1972, Lecturer, Department of Zoology, Oxford
  • 1983-2001, John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Cell Biology, University of Cambridge
  • 2001-Present, Chair of the Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute

Honors and Awards

    • 1971, Fellow of the Royal Society
    • 1978, Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    • 1978, Foreign Associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences
    • 1989, Wolf Prize in Medicine
    • 1995, Knight Bachelor2009, Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research
    • 2012, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Major Academic Achievements

The contributions of Professor John B. Gurdon to molecular embryology span three decades and cover many of the exciting advances in this field. Perhaps the most influential of Gurdon s work is the introduction of the frog oocyte injection technology. In 1962, John Gurdon removed the nucleus of a fertilized egg cell from a frog and replaced it with the nucleus of a cell taken from a tadpole's intestine. This modified egg cell grew into a new frog, proving that the mature cell still contained the genetic information needed to form all types of cells. In 1979, he became the head of the Medical Research Council LMB’s division of cell biology. While there he worked to identify the molecules in egg cells that were responsible for the nuclear reprogramming effect. Gurdon's recent research has focused on analyzing intercellular signaling factors involved in cell differentiation, and on elucidating the mechanisms involved in reprogramming the nucleus in transplantation experiments, including the role of histone variants, and demethylation of the transplanted DNA.