Nicole M. Le Douarin
Nicole Le Douarin began her research career while a high school teacher. Her PhD work under the supervision of Etienne Wolff was on the development of the digestive tract and liver in the chick embryo. She later devised a cell marking technique based on the construction of chimeras by combining cells of quail and chick embryos in ovo. Using this technique she demonstrated that the neural crest is a major player in vertebrate embryogenesis, namely by its role in the development of the head and brain. She demonstrated with her colleagues the existence of a stem cell in the Neural Crest, the first example of a neural stem cell. She and her group applied the quail-chick chimera system to other problems such as hematopoiesis and demonstrated a novel mechanism of tolerance to self.
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