Eric F. Wieschaus

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Eric Francis Wieschaus
Wieschaus ecal2011.jpg
Eric F. Wieschaus in 2011
Born (1947-06-08) June 8, 1947 (age 73)
Alma materUniversity of Notre Dame (B.S.)
Yale University (Ph.D.)
Known forEmbryogenesis
AwardsGenetics Society of America Medal (1995)
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1995)
Scientific career
FieldsDevelopmental biology
InstitutionsPrinceton University
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Eric Francis Wieschaus (born June 8, 1947 in South Bend, Indiana) is an American evolutionary developmental biologist and 1995 Nobel Prize-winner.

Early life[edit]

Born in South Bend, Indiana, he attended John Carroll Catholic High School in Birmingham, Alabama before attending the University of Notre Dame for his undergraduate studies (B.S., biology), and Yale University (Ph.D., biology) for his graduate work.

Scientific career[edit]

Drosophila Melanogaster, the object of Wieschaus's science

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.[1][2]

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. Saturation of all the possible mutations on each chromosome by random events to test embryonic lethality was done by Eric Wieschaus.[3] This body of science eventually was termed the Heidelberg screen.[2][4]

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.[5][6][7][8]

As of 2018, Wieschaus is the Squibb Professor in Molecular Biology at Princeton.[9] He was formerly 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.

Other pursuits[edit]

Wieschaus is an atheist[citation needed] and is one of the 77 Nobel Laureates who signed the 2007 petition to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act.[10][11]

Awards and Honors[edit]


  1. ^ Eric F. Wieschaus on
  2. ^ a b Wieschaus, E.; Nüsslein-Volhard, C. (2016). "The Heidelberg Screen for Pattern Mutants of Drosophila: A Personal Account". Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology. 32: 1–46. doi:10.1146/annurev-cellbio-113015-023138. PMID 27501451.
  3. ^ Connor, S. (1995), "Nobel prize given for work on fruit flies", BMJ (published October 21, 1995), 311 (7012), p. 1044, doi:10.1136/bmj.311.7012.1044, PMC 2551360, PMID 7580653
  4. ^ St Johnston, D. (2002). "The art and design of genetic screens: Drosophila melanogaster". Nature Reviews. Genetics. 3 (3): 176–88. doi:10.1038/nrg751. PMID 11972155.
  5. ^ Gruenbaum, J. (1996), "[Nobel prize winners in medicine--1995]", Harefuah (published June 2, 1996), 130 (11), pp. 746–748, PMID 8794677
  6. ^ Blum, H. E. (1995), "[The 1995 Nobel Prize for medicine]", Dtsch. Med. Wochenschr. (published December 22, 1995), 120 (51–52), pp. 1797–800, doi:10.1055/s-0029-1234219, PMID 8549267
  7. ^ Molven, A. (1995), "1995 Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine. The mystery of fetal development", Tidsskr. Nor. Laegeforen. (published December 10, 1995), 115 (30), pp. 3712–3, PMID 8539733
  8. ^ Cohen, B. (1995), "Nobel committee rewards pioneers of development studies in fruitflies", Nature (published October 12, 1995), 377 (6549), p. 465, Bibcode:1995Natur.377..465C, doi:10.1038/377465a0, PMID 7566128
  9. ^ "Eric Wieschaus | Squibb Professor in Molecular Biology". Princeton University. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  10. ^[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-05-28. Retrieved 2016-08-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Eric F. Wieschaus". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  13. ^ "Eric Wieschaus". Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  14. ^ "APS Member History". Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  15. ^ "Mendel Medal". Genetics Society. Retrieved 2020-05-16.

External links[edit]