Microscopy image of human fetal lung explant shows birfurcating tips (red) and airway smooth muscle actin (cyan); by John Russell (Rawlins lab)

Human fetal lung tissue undergoes branching morphogenesis ex vivo, by John Russell (Rawlins lab)

Studying development to understand disease

The Gurdon Institute is a world-leading centre for research at the interface between developmental biology and cancer biology

Latest news & publications

Anne McLaren colour portrait

Remembering Anne McLaren

A new biographical memoir free to read and download.

March 20, 2023

Read more
16 weeks post-conception human fetal lung. The branching airway tree is surrounded by bands of developing smooth muscle (green), which also labels the developing vasculature. The epithelial progenitor cells (co expressing SFTPC in white and NOTUM in red) are initiating the process of alveolar epithelial development. Image supplied by co-author Emma Rawlins (University of Cambridge), image credit Dr Kyungtae Lim.

Biggest leap in identified lung health genes paves way for personalised risk score

March 13, 2023

Read more
A 3D reconstructed tree of a murine salivary gland lobe showing clones resulting from labelling of individual progenitors that were traced from an early to a final stage of branching morphogenesis.

Tracing lineage restriction and patterning during branching morphogenesis

January 23, 2023

Read more
Immunostaining of a human female genital ridge in the 8th week of embryonic development depicting levels of H3K4me1 (red) and POU5F1 (green) in gonadal somatic cells and primordial germ cells (PGCs). Note that POU5F1-positive PGCs exhibit higher H3K4me1 levels than the surrounding somatic cells.

Human germline rejuvenation entails heterochromatin remodelling

January 18, 2023

Read more

About us

Our mission is to understand the fundamental mechanisms of normal development, to determine how these mechanisms are subverted in cancer and other diseases, and to use this knowledge to develop new therapies.

The Institute is embedded within the University of Cambridge, with superb infrastructure core-funded by Wellcome and Cancer Research UK. Our location facilitates interactions across the University as well as with the vibrant technical hub of Silicon Fen.

Wellcome and CRUK logos combined

Front view of Gurdon Institute

From cell biology to tissue mechanics

Our 18 research groups address mechanisms that underlie development and disease through work in humans, model organisms, organoids and cell systems. We employ state-of-the-art technologies such as super-resolution imaging, single-cell analyses, genome engineering, genomics and computer modelling.

Researchers interact in corridor

Our people

The Institute is a thriving and diverse community where everyone’s contribution is important to achieving our goals.

Our group leaders, many of whom have collected numerous international awards, make important discoveries and seminal contributions in their field. We train postgraduates and postdocs, and are proud that our alumni include over 220 new group leaders pursuing exciting science around the world.

Many of our core support staff, from technical to administrative roles, have been with us for over a decade and the whole team is as committed as our researchers to their work.

Public engagement

The Gurdon Institute is committed to making our fundamental biological research accessible and responsive to the public for the mutual benefits of inspiration, knowledge exchange and trust.

The Institute was granted a Silver Engage Watermark award from the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE), recognising our strategic support for Public Engagement and our continued commitment to innovate and develop our programme and further embed public engagement in our research culture.

A scientist engaging with a child at a festival event