Claudio Stern is JZ Young Professor at University College London’s Research Department of Cell and Developmental Biology. In 2006 he was awarded the prestigious Waddington Medal from the British Society for Developmental Biology and he was president of the International Society for Developmental Biology from 2009-2013. His research focuses on the processes that establish cell diversity and pattern in the early embryo with an emphasis on elucidating how cells in the embryo know what fates to adopt, at the right positions, and at the right time. Major research questions include: How do higher vertebrate embryos establish their polarity, and what mechanisms coordinate cell movements with gene expression? What mechanisms are responsible for inducing the early nervous system? How is the early nervous system subdivided into forebrain, midbrain, hindbrain and spinal cord? Where are embryonic stem cells in the embryo, and can we harness them to understand developmental pathways? The Stern lab is particularly interested in discovering mechanisms that represent general principles in development.