Marianne Bronner is a developmental biologist with a long-standing interest in formation, migration and differentiation of neural crest cells, an embryonic cell type that makes most of the peripheral nervous system and craniofacial skeleton.
She received her ScB in Biophysics from Brown University in 1975 and her PhD in Biophysics from Johns Hopkins University in 1979. She joined the faculty at University of California, Irvine, in 1980 and became a Full Professor in 1990 as well as co-director of the Developmental Biology Center. In 1996, she moved to the Division of Biology at Caltech where she is currently the Albert Billings Ruddock Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering and Executive Officer for Neuroscience.
Bronner’s laboratory has a long-standing interest in the central question of developmental biology: how a complex organism develops from a single cell. Her studies centre on the molecular mechanisms underlying formation and evolution of the neural crest, a highly multipotent stem cell population that gives rise to melanocytes of the skin, craniofacial skeleton and peripheral ganglia. As neural crest cells are amongst the most migratory cell type in vertebrate embryo, the Bronner lab also has been interested in characterizing the role of the migratory environment in influencing pathway choice.
From 2001-2003, she was Chair of the Faculty at Caltech and was the first woman to hold that position. She has been President of the Society for Developmental Biology (2009), Secretary of the International Society for Developmental Biology (2010-13), and President of the International Society for Differentiation (2014). She is currently an editor for the journals Developmental Biology, Journal of Cell Biology, Molecular Biology of the Cell and eLife.