A Look Ahead XX
Ruth Lehmann, Ph.D.
Ruth Lehmann, Ph.D.
Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Professor of Cell Biology
Director, Skirball Institute
Chair, Department of Cell Biology
New York University School of Medicine
Dr. Lehmann is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Professor of Cell Biology at NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Lehmann directs the Skirball Institute and the Helen and Martin Kimmel Center for Stem Cell Biology and is the Chair of the Department of Cell Biology at NYU School of Medicine. Her research focuses on germ cells, the only cells in the body able to give rise to a new generation.
Born in Cologne, Germany, Dr. Lehmann studied biology at the universities of Freiburg and Tübingen, Germany and Seattle, USA. She received her Ph.D. in the laboratory of noble laureate Dr. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Genetics in 1985. After postdoctoral training at the Medical Research Council (MRC) in Cambridge, UK she joined the Whitehead Institute and the faculty of MIT in 1988. By cloning key genes involved in setting up head-to-tail polarity in the embryo and in directing RNA transport to one pole of the oocyte, the lab discovered that certain RNAs are translationally repressed during transport but become activated once localized. In 1996, Dr. Lehmann was recruited to the Skirball Institute at NYU School of Medicine. Here her lab expanded into the analysis of germ cell migration by showing how lipid signaling affects cell migration. Today, her lab uses systematic, unbiased genetic approaches and different imaging modalities in Drosophila to understand how germ cells are specified in the early embryo and how they maintain the potential for totipotency while differentiating into egg and sperm in the adult.
Dr. Lehmann is a member of the American Academy of Arts Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. She was the 2011 recipient of the Conklin Medal of the Society of Developmental Biology and was elected Member of EMBO in 2012.