Ruth Lehmann, Ph.D.

New York University School of MedicineRuth Lehmann’s website

Dr. Lehmann is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Professor of Cell Biology at New York University (NYU) School of Medicine. Lehmann directs the Skirball Institute and the Helen and Martin Kimmel Center for Stem Cell Biology and is the chair of the Department of Cell Biology at NYU School of Medicine. Her research focuses on germ cells, the only cells in the body able to give rise to a new generation.

Born in Cologne, Germany, Lehmann studied biology at the University of Freiburg and Universität Tübingen (both in Germany) as well as the University of Washington, Seattle. She received her Ph.D. in the laboratory of noble laureate Dr. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Genetics in 1985. After postdoctoral training at the Medical Research Council (MRC) in Cambridge, UK, she joined the Whitehead Institute and the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1988. In 1996, Lehmann was recruited to the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine at NYU School of Medicine. Here, her lab expanded into the analysis of germ cell migration by showing how lipid signaling affects cell migration. Today, her lab uses systematic, unbiased genetic approaches and different imaging modalities in Drosophila to understand how germ cells are specified in the early embryo and how they maintain the potential for totipotency while differentiating into egg and sperm in the adult.

Lehmann is a member of the American Academy of Arts Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. She was the 2011 recipient of the Edwin G. Conklin Medal of the Society of Developmental Biology and was elected a member of European Molecular Biology Organization in 2012.

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