Nüsslein-Volhard is scholarship holder of the German Research Society (DFG) at Sander’s lab. She does a fate map for the larval cuticle using laser ablations of Drosophila blastoderm cells showing that the primordia of individual segments in the blastoderm stage are no more than three cells wide. This leads to a detailed description of the segmental pattern of the fruit fly larva. With Santamaria she attempts to rescue the dorsal phenotype by transplantation of wildtype cytoplasm
Nüsslein-Volhard works as head of a Freelance Working Group at Friedrich Miescher Laboratory (FML), where he works with G. Jürgens and K. Anderson. An important method to analyse the function of the genes used in her laboratory is cytoplasmic transplantation. These studies started with the mutants bicoid and oskar, are successively extend to wildtype embryos. Anderson shows that among the dorsal-group genes in many cases the RNA is the rescuing principle.
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard is born in Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt, during the war, as the second of five children. She spends her childhood in a flat in the south of Frankfurt with a large garden, close to the forest. She receives great support from her parents. She learns how to play the flute, how to sew her own clothes, and how to make things by herself, rather than buying them. Her early interest in plants and animals brings her, at the age of twelve, to choose a carrier as biologist.
Nüsslein-Volhard is EMBO Long-Term Fellow at Gehring’s lab. She meets Wieschaus from whom she learns about the use of genetics to study development. From Holden, she learns about genetics of Drosophila. She develops methods to study embryonic mutants as the block system for egg collection and replica plating in flies. She finds a fixation and clearing technique which enables the scoring of the larval cuticle in detail.
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard receives one third of the Nobel Prize in Medicine with Edward B. Lewis and Eric F. Wieschaus "for their discoveries concerning the genetic control of early embryonic development."
Nüsslein-Volhard enters Eberhard-Karls-Universität. She doesn’t like very much the biochemistry curriculum that she has chosen, but it provides a solid training in many basic courses, such as physical chemistry with thermodynamics and stereochemistry. She attends seminars and lectures from scientists of the Max-Planck-Institut für Virusforschung - Schramm, Gierer, Bonhoeffer, Schaller and others and in this way she discovers the latest advances in protein biosynthesis and DNA replication. In 1968 she obtains a diploma in biochemistry.
Nüsslein-Volhard joins Max Planck Institute as research associate. She develops a method for large scale purification of clean RNA polymerase and isolates RNA polymerase binding sites from fd Phage to understand the structure of a promoter. Bonhoeffer’s research convinces her of the powers of genetics in analysing complex processes. She searches for an organism in which genetics could be applied to developmental problems, and finds Drosophila mutants, including bicaudal, in a review by Wright.
As a postdoc project Nüsslein-Volhard decides to score for mutations affecting the informational content of the egg cell, with the aim of using them to isolate and identify morphogens in injection assays, in which the rescue of a mutant phenotype is indicative of the presence of an activity lacking in the mutant embryo, possibly the gene product. In ‘73 she attends a meeting in Freiburg where she meets Walter Gehring. She asks him to work in his laboratory in Basel on bicaudal maternal mutant.
Nüsslein-Volhard works as scientific Member of Max Planck Society, and Principal at Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology. She starts doing molecular work, with the analysis of the localization of the RNA of bicoid. In ‘96, Nüsslein-Volhard's group publishes a long paper on the genetic structure of zebra fishes.
Nüsslein-Volhard accepts her first independent research position offered by Kendrew at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory. She shares the lab with Wieschaus. Because of their common interest in Drosophila, they decide to work together to find out how a newly fertilized fruit fly egg develops into a fullysegmented embryo. They choose the fruit fly because of its very fast embryonic development. They begin to pursue a strategy for isolating genes responsible for the embryos' initial growth.
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard is Brooks Lecturer at Harvard Medical School.
Nüsslein-Volhard enters Schillerschule where she enjoys chiefly German literature, mathematics and biology. At the end of school, she gives a speech On Language of Animals, influenced by Konrad Lorenz and German biologists who studied animal behaviour. Her father suddenly dies on the 26th of February 1962. After high school, she considers entering medicine, but after a one–month course as a nurse in a hospital, she knows she would never enjoy working as a physician. She chooses instead biology.
Nüsslein-Volhard and Wieschaus feed male fruit flies sugar water laced with chemicals that damage flies' DNA. When the male mates, the females often produce dead or mutated embryos. They detect specific genes that tell cells what they are going to be, e.g. part of the head or the tail. Some of these mutated genes result in damage to the formation of the embryo's body plan. Thanks to this finding it is possible to explain birth defects in humans.
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard receives her Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Tübingen.
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard enters Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universität. At first she is disappointed because courses in biology in Frankfurt University seem quite dull at the time. She enjoys however botany and she attends an excellent series of lectures by Martienssen, a professor of experimental physics in Frankfurt. She also takes courses in mathematics and theoretical mechanics, until she finds out these subjects too difficult. In 1964 she receives degrees in biology, physics, and chemistry.
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard presents her works on detailed examination and description of the segmental pattern of the Drosophila larva at the annual symposium of the American Society of Developmental Biology in Madison. This is her first trip to the US.