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Department of Genetics

Developmental Biology


Naomi studied Biological Science at Imperial College London as an undergraduate, and found herself particularly interested in developmental biology and epigenetics. After some time spent researching at Cancer Research UK London, she came to Cambridge to do a PhD between the departments of Genetics and Haematology. She is currently a Junior Research Fellow, working with Alfonso Martinez-Arias’ group.


My research is in the field of developmental biology, which involves studying early embryo development and how individual cells make decisions. I’m particularly interested in the dynamics of these decisions, including the role of random chance (stochasticity) and gene expression variability (heterogeneity), and how cell fate is coordinated across the embryo in both space and time. To better understand these questions, I use mouse embryonic stem cells in 3-dimensional ‘gastruloid’ culture systems which mimic features of the early mouse embryo.


Key publications: 

Beccari, L.*, Moris, N.*, Girgin, M.*, Turner, D., Baillie-Johnson, P., Lutolf, M., Duboule, D., Martinez Arias,

A. (2018) Multi-axial self-organization properties of mouse embryonic stem cells into gastruloids Nature

562, 272–276


Moris, N., Edri, S., Seyres, D., Kulkarni, R., Domingues, A.F., Balayo, T., Frontini, M., Pina, C. (2018) Histone

acetyltransferase Kat2a stabilises pluripotency with control of transcriptional heterogeneity Stem

Cells. (Also at bioRxiv doi: )


Moris, N.* & Martinez Arias, A. (2017) The hidden memory of differentiating cells. Cell Systems 5 (3) :

163-164 * Corresponding author


Moris, N., Pina C. & Martinez Arias A. (2016) Transition states and cell fate decisions in epigenetic landscapes.

Nature Reviews Genetics 17 (11) : 693-703


Moris, N., Shrivastava J., Jeffery L., Li J.J., Hayles J., Nurse P. (2016) A genome-wide screen to identify

genes controlling the rate of entry into mitosis in fission yeast. Cell Cycle, 13:0.

Teaching and Supervisions


Naomi supervises for the Part IA (1st Year) Physiology of Organisms course, and Part IB (2nd Year) Cell and Developmental Biology course, both as part of the University of Cambridge Natural Sciences Tripos undergraduate course. 

Constance Work Junior Research Fellow at Newnham College, Cambridge
Research Fellow with Martinez Arias Group
Dr Naomi  Moris

Contact Details

Department of Genetics,
University of Cambridge,
Cambridge, UK
01223 766 586
Takes PhD students
Not available for consultancy