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Template:Infobox personNicole Marthe Le Douarin (born 20 August 1930, Lorient, France) is a developmental biologist, famed for her studies of chimeras, which have led to critical insights regarding higher animal nervous and immune systems.

Le Douarin invented an embryo manipulation technology to produce chimeric embryos, from chicken and quails. She is notable for shedding light on the development of higher animal nervous and immune systems. She showed that precursor cells within the neural crest were multipotent. Her technique has also permitted her to shed light on the development of the blood and immune systems.


Le Douarin was born on 20 August 1930. She received her B.S. from the University of Paris in 1954. While teaching, she worked with renowned embryologist Etienne Wolf, beginning research which led to her doctoral work and Ph.D. in 1964.

She was appointed to the faculty at the University of Nantes in 1966. The dean, however, almost disallowed her appointment because he disapproved of married women on the same faculty with their husbands. Le Douarin's mentor Wolf intervened, and the dean relented. However, she was not given laboratory space or a research budget, as her husband was, and she was given a heavy teaching load.[1]

Le Douarin is currently Director, Institute of Embryology at C.R.N.S., replacing her mentor Etienne Wolf.

Significant Papers

  • Le Douarin N & Teillet M. "Experimental analysis of the migration and differentiation of neuroblasts of the autonomic nervous system and of neuroectodermal mesenchymal derivatives using a biological cell marking technique." Dev. Biol. v. 41, pp. 162–184 (1974).
  • "Tracing of Cells of the Avian Thymus through Embryonic Life in Interspecific Chimaeras" (1975)
  • "The Neural Crest" (1982)
  • "Mapping of the Early Neural Primordium in Quail-Chick Chimaeras: I. Developmental Relationship between Placodes, Facial Ectoderm and Proscephalon" (1985)
  • "Post-natal Development of a Demyelinating Disease in Avian Spinal Cord Chimaeras" (1986)
  • "Cell line segregation during peripheral nervous system ontogeny" Science (1986)
  • N. M. Le Douarin, S. Creuzet, G. Couly, and E. Dupin, Neural crest cell plasticity and its limits," Development 131, 4637-4650 (2004).


  • Member, European Molecular Biology Organization (1977)
  • Member, Legion d'Honneur (1980)
  • Member, French Academy of Sciences (1982)
  • Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1984)
  • Kyoto Prize in Biotechnology and Medical Technology (1986)
  • Member, Collège de France (Le Douarin was only the third woman admitted in its history)
  • Fellow, The Royal Society (1989)
  • Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine (1990)
  • Honorary Fellow, The Royal College of Pathologists (1993)
  • Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University (1993)
  • Ross Harrison Prize from International Society of Developmental Biologists (1997)
  • Member, Pontifical Academy of Sciences (3 September 1999)[2]
  • Honorary Fellow, Academy of Medical Sciences in Great Britain (2002)
  • Member, Brazilian Academy of Sciences (2002)[3]
  • Pearl Meister Greengard Prize (2004) (inaugural winner of the Prize)
  • 2007 Ralph W. Gerard Prize in Neuroscience

References and notes

  1. Betsy Hanson, "The Birth of an Award," Benchmarks: The Community Newsletter of the Rockefeller University", Dec. 17, 2004.
  2. Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican
  3. Academia Brasileira de Ciencias

External links

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