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Assistant Professor of Developmental Biology (Retired 2012)
Prof. Heasman's research interests centered on early vertebrate development, in trying to understand the molecular mechanism by which an embryo establishes its three germ layers. The author of over 90 papers, and amongst many other scientific accomplishments, Prof. Heasman developed the use of morpholino-antisense oligonucleotides for gene knockdowns in vertebrates in 2000.
Biography: Janet Heasman was born in Hartlepool on the north-eastern coast of England and attended University College Hospital Medical School in London. As a second-year medical student, she took an intercalated BSc degree in J. Z. Young's Anatomy department and thus encountered Chris Wylie, whom she later married. After completing her BSc degree in 1974, and spending a year studying clinical medicine, she joined Chris for a year of research and teaching at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, an experience that made her decide on a career in academic research. Returning to London, she withdrew from medical school and registered for a PhD. She became a lecturer and, later, senior lecturer at St George's Hospital Medical School, where she and Chris worked for 12 years. In 1988, they moved to Cambridge, to become founding members of the Wellcome/CRC Institute for Developmental Biology. The lure of the USA had always been strong, and, after many summer trips to teach the Woods Hole Embryology course, the couple decided to emigrate to positions in the University of Minnesota. After 6 years there, they moved to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Research Foundation, to hold the position of Professor in the Developmental Biology. She retired from science in 2012.