Eugenia Maria del Pino Veintimilla was born and grew up in Quito, Ecuador. She received a “licenciatura” degree from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador (Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador) (PUCE), Quito, a M.Sc. Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, USA and a Ph.D. Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA. She returned to Ecuador and was professor of Biology at PUCE from 1972 to 2013. She is professor emerita since 2013. With a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation she did research at the German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, laboratory of Prof. Dr. Michael Trendelenburg. She was Fulbright Fellow at the laboratory of Prof. Joseph Gall, Department of Embryology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Baltimore, MD, USA. Del Pino is a member of the Latin American Academy of Sciences, The World Academy of Sciences for the Advancement of Science in Developing Countries, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Founding Member of the Academy of Sciences of Ecuador. She received the L?Oreal-Unesco Prize for Women in Science for Latin America, and the 2019 Prize of the Latin American Society for Developmental Biology. Eugenia del Pino established an entire school of Biology in Ecuador focused in evolutionary developmental adaptations.

Research Interests

Her work concentrates in the analysis of reproduction, oogenesis and gastrulation in frogs. Not having funds to buy Xenopus laevis, she came across a marsupial frog called Gastrotheca riobambae. Gastrotheca carries its eggs in a pouch on her back. These reproductive adaptations differ from frogs with aquatic reproduction and resemble the strategies of the birds and mammals, although some features remain frog-like. This terrestrial form of reproduction solely occurs in the Latin American frogs of the family Hemiphractidae. Eggs of these frogs are very large, ranging from 3 to 10 mm in diameter in different species. Del Pino studied many other marsupial frogs and in Flectonotus pygmaeus, a Venezuelan frog, discovered the multinucleated oogenesis mode. Oocytes at early stages have up to 3000 meiotic nuclei in a single cell. The many nuclei are gradually lost until in the mature yolky oocyte only a single nucleus remains, forming a single germinal vesicle. The comparison of oogenesis and gastrulation was extended to different frog species with aquatic and terrestrial reproductive modes. Her analyses revealed extensive modularity in the developmental processes that guide the blastopore closure and notochord elongation in amphibians, features that correlate with reproductive modes and ecological adaptations.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 22: Cellular and Developmental Biology