Wieschaus

Wieschaus

[wee-shous, vee]
Wieschaus, Eric Francis, 1947-, American biologist and geneticist, b. South Bend, Ind., Ph.D. Yale 1974. He was a researcher at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany, from 1978 to 1981, when he joined the faculty at Princeton. Wieschaus shared the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and Edward B. Lewis for their discoveries concerning the genetic control of early embryonic development. Using the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as their experimental system, Wieschaus and Nüsslein-Volhard identified and classified a group of genes that play a key role in determining the overall body plan as well as the formation of body segments. Their work provided the foundation for Lewis to elucidate how individual segments develop into specific organs; the combined work of the three offered important new insights into the process of evolution and laid the groundwork for understanding congenital defects in humans.

Eric F. Wieschaus (born June 8, 1947) is an American developmental biologist and Nobel Prize-winner.

Born in South Bend, Indiana, he attended John Carroll Catholic High School in Birmingham, AL before attending the University of Notre Dame for his undergraduate studies (B.S., biology), and Yale University (Ph.D., biology) for his graduate work. In 1978, he moved to his first independent job, at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany and moved from Heidelberg to Princeton University in the United States in 1981.

Much of his research has focused on embryogenesis in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, specifically in the patterning that occurs in the early Drosophila embryo. Most of the gene products used by the embryo at these stages are already present in the unfertilized egg and were produced by maternal transcription during oogenesis. A small number of gene products, however, are supplied by transcription in the embryo itself. He has focused on these "zygotically" active genes because he believes the temporal and spatial pattern of their transcription may provide the triggers controlling the normal sequence of embryonic development.

In 1995, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Edward B. Lewis and Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard as co-recipients, for their work revealing the genetic control of embryonic development.

Wieschaus taught for Duke University's Program in Genetics and Genomics.

As of 2005, Wieschaus is the Squibb Professor in Molecular Biology at Princeton, and Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New JerseyRobert Wood Johnson Medical School.

He has three daughters and is married to molecular biologist Gertrud Schüpbach, who is also a professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University, working on Drosophila oogenesis.

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