Harvard University - Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology


by Kristen Uekermann and Andrew McMahon

September 13th, 2007

Andy McMahon
photo © The Royal Society

Andrew McMahon, Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science within Harvard's Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and a principal faculty of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute was recently admitted into The Royal Society. 

The Royal Society of London, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society founded in 1660, the oldest scientific society in existence. Amongst its founding members were Isaac Newton and Christopher Wren.  The society funds scientific research, publishes and hosts an annual summer Science Exhibition in London and Glasgow, and acts as an independent advisory body on important issues of policy and education. Each year, the Royal Society fellows elect 44 new members to their ranks.  Selection recognizes those scientists, engineers and mathematicians who amongst UK or Commonwealth citizens have made exceptional contributions to the "Improvement of Natural Knowledge".

Professor Andrew McMahon is a leading developmental biologist whose research has provided critical insights into the role of cell-signaling processes in the co-ordinate regulation of groups of cells during embryonic development. Focusing predominantly on the use of powerful genetic approaches in mouse model systems, his group has uncovered common regulatory mechanisms at play in mice and flies. In mammals, these pathways play diverse roles. For example, roles may include ensuring formation of the appropriate number of neurons, in their correct positions, within the central nervous system; the distinct identities of fingers and toes and the establishment of functional organ systems. “I am thrilled and honored that my fellow scientists have acknowledged our work in this way”, McMahon says.  “I have been fortunate to benefit from a wonderful group of research assistants, students and post doctoral fellows over many years. Thanks to all!”