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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge
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    Dr Elizabeth Callery

    Photo of Dr Liz Callary
    01223 762505
    Murray Edwards College
    New Hall
    University of Cambridge
    CB3 0DF

    Fellow in Developmental and Cell Biology; Director of Studies; Tutor

    Natural Sciences (Biological)


    An open and egalitarian community which fosters aspiration and individuality. I enjoy interacting with bright and motivated students and learning about some of their amazing extra-curricular achievements and future plans.

    Degrees and honours

    MA, MSc, PhD.

    Research interests

    • Vertebrate embryology: She has investigated the role of several transcription factors (gene switches) in early development, using frogs as a model system.
    • Stem cell biology: She has contributed to projects investigating the role of developmental patterning genes in stem cell differentiation and establishing stem cells as a specific disease model.
    • Evolutionary developmental biology: She found that "direct developing frogs" which hatch on land as tiny froglets undergo a hormone-dependent cryptic metamorphosis in the egg.


    After graduating from Churchill College in Natural Sciences (Zoology), Elizabeth completed a research Masters and PhD at the University of Toronto, Canada, studying the developmental mechanisms regulating an unusual life-history in frogs. She was awarded a Human Frontier Science Program Long Term Fellowship and moved to the Biochemistry Department at Stony Brook University, New York, US, where she investigated gene regulation in early amphibian development.

    Elizabeth returned to the UK in her final fellowship year and continued this research at the Gurdon Institute. She then moved to Addenbrooke’s, working on a stem cell project in the Department of Medicine and the Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine.

    She has been a Fellow of Murray Edwards since 2006 and is currently the Tutor for Recruitment and Outreach. She also coordinates the Science/Technology strand of the Gateway Academic Development Programme and is an undergraduate Tutor and Director of Studies for second year biologists.


    1) Rana, A.A and Callery, E.M. (2015). Applications of nuclear reprogramming and directed differentiation in vascular regenerative medicine. New Biotechnology 32:191-8.

    2) Callery, E.M., Park, C.Y., Xu, X., Zhu, H., Smith, J.C., Thomsen, G.H. (2012). Eps15R is required for bone morphogenetic protein signalling and differentially compartmentalizes with Smad proteins. Open Biology, 2: 120060.

    3) Bernardo A.S., Faial T., Gardner L., Niakan K.K., Ortmann D., Senner C.E., Callery E.M., Trotter M.W., Hemberger M., Smith J.C., Bardwell, L., Moffett, A., Pedersen, R. A. (2011). BRACHYURY and CDX2 mediate BMP-induced differentiation of human and mouse pluripotent stem cells into embryonic and extraembryonic lineages. Cell Stem Cell 9:144-155.

    4) Callery, E. M., Thomsen, G.H. and Smith, J.C. (2010). A divergent Tbx6-related gene and Tbx6 are both required for neural crest and intermediate mesoderm development in Xenopus. Developmental Biology 340:75-87.

    5) Callery, E.M. (2006). There’s more than one frog in the pond: a survey of the Amphibia and their contributions to developmental biology. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology 17:80-92.

    6) Callery, E.M., Smith, J.C. and Thomsen, G.H. (2005). The ARID domain protein dril1 is necessary for TGFβ signalling in Xenopus embryos. Developmental Biology 278:542-559.

    7) Callery, E.M., Fang, H. and Elinson, R.P. (2001). Frogs without polliwogs: Evolution of anuran direct development. BioEssays 23:233-241.

    8) Callery, E.M. and Elinson, R.P. (2000). Thyroid hormone-dependent metamorphosis in a direct developing frog. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 97:2615-20 (cover article).

    9) Callery, E.M. and Elinson, R.P. (2000). Opercular development and ontogenetic re-organization in a direct developing frog. Development, Genes and Evolution 210:377-381.

    10) Callery, E.M. and Elinson, R.P. (1996). Developmental regulation of the urea-cycle enzyme, arginase, in the direct developing frog, Eleutherodactylus coqui. J. Exp. Zool. 275:61-66