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David Turner

PhD BSc (Hons) PhD FHEA CBiol MRSB


My research aims to uncover how cells integrate signals from their environment to determine their fate during early mammalian development.


To answer these questions, I use mouse embryonic stem cells as a model system, growing them in 2D (monolayer) or as 3D gastruloids. Gastruloids are an incredibly useful model system to study the mechanisms of early embryonic development, as they reproducibly undergo many of the same processes and early patterning events as the early embryo, are highly tractable, and critically allow us to study early mammalian development without using animal models.

In 2017, I was awarded a David Sainsbury NC3Rs fellowship to use the gastruloid model system to study Left-Right Asymmetry in mammalian development. I then joined the University of Liverpool in 2019 to take up a Tenure-Track Fellowship in the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease where I am continuing my work in understanding the processes governing cell fate decisions in early mammalian development.

Key Publications

  1. Multi-axial self-organization properties of mouse embryonic stem cells into gastruloids (2018)

  2. Anteroposterior polarity and elongation in the absence of extra-embryonic tissues and of spatially localised signalling in gastruloids: mammalian embryonic organoids (2017)

  3. Brachyury cooperates with Wnt/beta-catenin signalling to elicit primitive-streak-like behaviour in differentiating mouse embryonic stem cells (2014)

  4. Symmetry breaking, germ layer specification and axial organisation in aggregates of mouse embryonic stem cells (2014)

  5. Gastruloids develop the three body axes in the absence of extraembryonic tissues and spatially localised signalling (2017)

Education & Training


University of Cambridge

Postdoctoral Research Associate with Prof. Alfonso Martinez Arias


University of Liverpool

PhD studying the regulation of NF-kB signalling in live-cells with Prof. Mike White.


University of Liverpool

BSc (First Class Hons.) in Pharmacology

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