Sophie Morgani, PhD

Visiting Research Fellow


Education & Training

2015–present: Sir Henry Wellcome Visiting Research Fellow, Developmental Biology Program, Sloan Kettering Institute (lab of Kat Hadjantonakis)

2009–2015: PhD degree in developmental biology, University of Edinburgh, UK and DanStem, University of Copenhagen (lab of Joshua Brickman)

2005–2009: BSc Hons degree in Biochemistry with Industrial Experience, University of Manchester, UK

Research interests

Development starts from a single unspecified cell that divides and differentiates to form all cell types of the adult. One of the most critical stages of development is when pluripotent embryonic cells start to specify the 3 germ layers (endoderm, mesoderm and ectoderm) and spatially arrange themselves to set up the future body plan – a process known as gastrulation. However, during the period that cells are making these decisions, the embryo implants into the uterus and is relatively inaccessible. Therefore, our knowledge of these events is mostly limited to static snapshots in time and we understand relatively little about the dynamic mechanisms controlling these processes.

I am therefore developing an in vitro system, using pluripotent stem cells, to model early lineage decisions and embryonic patterning. We will utilize this tool to analyze such events in real-time and in a quantitative manner to gain new insights into gastrulation-like events.


Martin-Gonzalez, J.+, Morgani, S.M. +, Bone, R.A., Bonderup, K., Abelchian, S., Brakebush, C. and Brickman, J.M. (2016) Embryonic stem cell culture conditions support distinct states associated with different developmental stages and potency. Stem Cell Reports 7, 177-191.

Morgani, S.M., Brickman, J.M. (2015) LIF supports primitive endoderm expansion during pre-implantation development. Development 142, 3488-3499.

Morgani, S.M., Canham, M.A., Nichols, J., Sharov, A.A., Migueles, R.P., Ko, M.S., and Brickman, J.M. (2013). Totipotent embryonic stem cells arise in ground state culture conditions. Cell reports 3, 1945-1957.

+ Co-first authors

View a full listing of Sophie Morgani’s journal articles.