Gertrud M. Schupbach

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Primary Section: 22, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Secondary Section: 26, Genetics
Membership Type:
Member (elected 2005)


Gertrud (Trudi) Schupbach is the Henry Fairfield Osborn Professor of Biology Emerita, and  Professor of Molecular Biology Emerita at Princeton University. She is a developmental geneticist known for her work of characterization of mutations that affect oogenesis and early embryogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster. Her work uncovered signaling events taking place in oogenesis that establish the major axes of the egg and embryo. She also found that a meiotic checkpoint operates in oogenesis that is important for DNA repair, and, in addition, regulates developmental events. Schupbach was born in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1950, and performed her graduate studies at the University of Zurich. She moved to Princeton University in 1981 and became a faculty member there in 1990. She was an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She served as president of the Genetics Society of America, and as president of the North American Drosophila Board. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an Associate Member of the European Molecular Biology Association. She has received the Edwin Grant Conklin Medal of the Society of Developmental Biology and the Amory Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Research Interests

Signaling through the ERK pathway regulates many important steps in development. The Schupbach laboratory has studied the EGF receptor in Drosophila oogenesis which is involved in setting up the anterior posterior and dorso ventral axis of the egg and embryo. They determined how a localized signal within the oocyte activates the receptor in a spatially restricted area, and how this localized signal depends on RNA localization and translational control, including in put from a meiotic checkpoint that measures DNA damage as well as retrotransposon activity. The Schupbach laboratory has also studied the polarized secretion of extracellular matrix by the follicle cell epithelium, and the effects of Notch signaling on axis formation. More recently Schupbach has collaborated with the laboratory of Stas Shvartsman at Princeton University in more quantitative approaches to signaling in early embryos of Drosophila, using Drosophila as model system for human mutations in the Ras/Erk pathway.

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