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Geraldine Seydoux, Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Geraldine Seydoux, Ph.D.
  • Huntington Sheldon Professor in Medical Discovery
  • Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Research Interests

Caenorhabditis elegans; Embryogenesis; Embryonic polarity and the soma-germline dichotomy


Dr. Geraldine Seydoux is the Huntington Sheldon Professor in Medical Discovery in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Her work examines how early embryos develop into complex asymmetric structures comprising many cell types.

Seydoux is best known for finding that global inhibition of mRNA synthesis is an essential first step in the establishment of the germline. Currently, her lab is studying a family of intrinsically-disordered proteins that scaffold RNA granules. The Seydoux lab is also developing new methods for genome editing using CRISPR technology.  

Dr. Seydoux received her B.S. in biochemistry from the University of Maine at Orono in 1986, and completed her Ph.D. in molecular biology at Princeton University in 1991. After a postdoctoral fellowship in developmental biology at the Carnegie Institute of Washington, she joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins in 1995 as an assistant professor. She became an associate professor in 2000, and a full professor in 2005.

Dr. Seydoux's work has garnered several awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship in 2001. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2013 and to the National Academy of Sciences in 2016. She assumed the role of vice dean for Basic Research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 2017. more


  • Huntington Sheldon Professor in Medical Discovery
  • Vice Dean for Basic Research
  • Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • Ph.D., Princeton University (New Jersey) (1991)
  • B.S., University of Maine (Maine) (1986)

Additional Training

Carnegie Institute of Washington, Washington, D.C., 1995, Developmental Biology

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Geraldine Seydoux is a developmental biologist who studies how early embryos develop into complex asymmetric structures comprising many cell types. Geraldine uses the transparent worm C. elegans as a model system and has developed methods to film and measure protein dynamics in live embryos.

Her lab has found that the C. elegans embryo becomes polarized after fertilization when microtubules associated with the sperm come in contact with the plasma membrane. Using genetics, biochemistry and quantitative microscopy, the Seydoux lab is investigating how interactions between microtubules and the membrane cause complex protein networks to “self-organize” and polarize the entire embryo.


The Seydoux lab studies the earliest stages of embryogenesis to understand how single-celled eggs develop into complex multicellular embryos. The researchers focus on the choice between soma and germline, one of the first developmental decisions faced by embryos.

The goal of Seydoux’s research is to identify and characterize the molecular mechanisms that activate embryonic development, polarize embryos, and distinguish between somatic and germline cells.

Lab Website: Seydoux Lab

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

Gallo, C, Wang, J. Motegi, F., Seydoux, G. (2010). Cytoplasmic partitioning of P granule components is not required to specify the germline in C. elegans. Science, 17;330(6011):1685-9

Griffin, E. , Odde, D. and Seydoux, G. Regulation of the MEX-5 gradient by a spatially-segregated kinase-phosphatase cycle (2011). Cell, 16;146(6):955-68

Wang, J. T., Smith, J. , Chen, B. C., Schmidt, H., Rasoloson, D., Paix, A. , Lambrus, B. G., Calidas, D., Betzig, E. and Seydoux, G. 2014 . Regulation of RNA granule dynamics by phosphorylation of serine-rich, intrinsically-disordered proteins in C. elegans. eLife, Dec 23;4. doi: 10.7554/eLife.04591

Lee, CY, Lu, T. Seydoux, G. 2017 Specification of the germline by Nanos-dependent down-regulation of the somatic synMuvB transcription factor LIN-15B. eLife, Elife. 2016 Dec 3;5. pii: e21337. doi: 10.7554/eLife.21337

Paix, A., Folkmann, A., Goldman, D., Kulaga H., Grzelak M., Rasoloson D., Paidemarry S., Green R., Reed R., Seydoux, G. 2017 Precision genome editing using synthesis-dependent repair of Cas9-induced DNA breaks. PNAS, 2017 Nov 28. pii: 201711979. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1711979114

Contact for Research Inquiries

725 N. Wolfe Street
706 PCTB
Baltimore, MD 21205 map
Phone: 410-614-4622
Fax: 410-955-9124

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Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology (BCMB) Graduate Program

Human Genetics and Molecular Biology

Courses and Syllabi

  • Molecules and Cells, (Instructor)
  • Fundamentals of Genetics, (Instructor)
  • Development Biology Elective, (Instructor)
  • Epigenetics Elective, (Instructor)
  • Fundamentals of Genetics, (Course Director)

Activities & Honors


  • Junior Faculty Research Award, American Cancer Society, 1996 - 1999
  • Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Award, March of Dimes, 1996 - 1998
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), National Institutes of Health, 1999
  • Kirsch Investigator Award, Steve and Michele Kirsch Foundation, 2001 - 2003
  • Searle Scholar Program, The Chicago Community Trust, 1996
  • Summa Cum Laude, University of Maine, 1986
  • Totman Scholarship, University of Maine, 1985 - 1986
  • MacArthur Fellowship, 2001
  • David and Lucile Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, 1995
  • Helen Hay Whitney Post-Doctoral Fellowship, 1991
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, 1988
  • Princeton Fellowship, 1986
  • Alpha Zeta Honorary Fraternity, 1985
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, 1984


  • Genetic Society of America
  • Society for Developmental Biology

Professional Activities

  • Ad Hoc Reviewer, NIH Reproductive Biology Study Section, 2002
  • Ad Hoc Reviewer, NIH Genetics Study Section, 2001
  • Admissions Committee BCMB graduate program, Johns Hopkins University, 1997
  • BCMB graduate program Policy Committee, Johns Hopkins University, 2003
  • Biomedical Scholars Selection committee, Johns Hopkins University, 2000
  • Board of Directors, Genetic Society of America, 2005
  • Editorial Board, Development, 2005
  • Editorial Board, Online review of C. elegans biology, 2004
  • Editorial Board, Developmental Cell, 2002
  • Guest reviewer, Winchell Cancer Research Fund, 2001
  • Medical School Council, Johns Hopkins University, 1998
  • Medical School Council Agenda Committee, johns Hopkins University, 2001
  • Review Panel, NSF Electronic Reviews, 1999
  • Review Panel for Post, Life Sciences Research Foundation, 2005
  • Vice-chair, Johns Hopkins University, 2002
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