Olivier Pourquié, Ph.D.

Olivier Pourquié, Ph.D.

Harvard Medical School
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Olivier Pourquié, Development

The Pourquié laboratory is a world leader in vertebrate musculo-skeletal axis development.

We are interested in the development of the vertebrate musculo-skeletal axis. Using chicken and mouse embryos as model systems, we combine developmental biology and genomic approaches to study patterning and differentiation of the precursors of muscles and vertebrae.

While most of this work has been carried out in vivo, we are developing protocols to recapitulate these early developmental processes in vitro using mouse and human embryonic or reprogrammed stem cells.

We are also turning to translational approaches, using our understanding of the early development to produce cells of the muscle and vertebral lineages in vitro from pluripotent cells to study human diseases of the musculo-skeletal axis and for cell therapy approaches.


Olivier Pourquié is the Frank Burr Mallory Professor of Pathology and Professor in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, and Professor of Pathology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He was the director of the Institute for Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology (IGBMC) in France and before that a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City. He graduated as an engineer in France and trained with Nicole Le Douarin. He was the Editor in Chief of the journal Development from 2009-2018.

Pourquié authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications. He is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization and of the Academia Europea. His work on the segmentation clock that controls the periodicity of vertebrae was recognized as one of the milestones in developmental biology of the 20th century by Nature Magazine. In 2020, he was elected as President of the Society for Developmental Biology, and as a member of the National Academy of Sciences.


Feature stories

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Research Interest(s)