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Christiane Nusslein- Volhard

NUSSLEIN-VOLHARD, Christiane, German geneticist and molecular biologist, b-1942. Currently the most notable German woman scientist. From 1978-80, she was the head of a group at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory. Since then Christiane has been associated with various departments at the Max Planck Institute, from 1986 as Director of Developmental Biology and then as Director of Genetics (from 1990). Christiane has used Drosophila flies extensively in research, developed mutant strains, discovered their fertilisation mechanisms, and identified over 120 gene patterns. She advocated use of Drosophila for embryology and morphology studies, because there were few chromosomes but salivary ones were large enough for easy genetic analysis. However, by 1994, she had switched to using zebrafish for genetics research, since they are invertebrates with many eggs which develop rapidly. A most significant paper of hers was ‘On Flies and Fishes’ in the Science journal in 1994. She won many top awards, and then in 1995 the Nobel Prize in Physiology. Highly honoured with many doctorates, Christiane is acutely aware of how very few women in Germany are able to take up science, she works for change in Europe on this problem


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