Margaret Buckingham was educated in Scotland and at Oxford University where she obtained B.A., M.A. and D.Phil. degrees in Biochemistry. As a postdoc, she then joined François Gros at the Pasteur Institute in Paris where she subsequently pursued her scientific career. She is currently honorary professor at the Pasteur Institute and emeritus research director in the CNRS. In 2013, she was awarded the gold medal of the CNRS, the highest French scientific honour awarded to a single person each year . She is a member of the French Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the Royal Society of London/Edinburgh and a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

Research Interests

Margaret Buckingham is a developmental biologist. She is interested in how naïve multipotent cells acquire tissue specificity during embryogenesis. She has studied both the formation of skeletal muscle and of the heart, using the tools of mouse molecular genetics to characterise cell behaviour and to identify the genes that govern cell fate choices. She showed the central role of Pax3 in the gene regulatory network that leads to the onset of myogenesis and demonstrated the presence of a population of Pax3/Pax7 positive progenitors that are essential for foetal muscle development. Her research extends to the stem cells of adult muscle and their maintenance as reserve cells for muscle regeneration. Her main contribution to the field of cardiogenesis is the identification of the second heart field as a major source of cardiac progenitor cells that form specific regions of the heart. Retrospective clonal analysis established a lineage tree for the myocardium, where the second lineage defines this contribution and reveals the clonal relationships between different sublineages which contribute to both the poles of the heart and anterior skeletal muscles. In addition to its conceptual importance for cardiogenesis, this work also has biomedical implications for congenital heart malformations.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 22: Cellular and Developmental Biology