November 9, 2021 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Online and In Person

Professor Jeff Hardin

We’ve listened to your feedback and have been busy planning for in-person events this Autumn. We’re delighted to announce that our Michaelmas research seminar series will be available for you to join us in-person as well as online.

On Tuesday 9th November Prof. Jeff Hardin will be presenting from Wisconsin ‘Self-Made People: The Emerging Embryo, Biology, and Belief’.

Audience members are kindly asked to be seated by 12:50pm to watch his presentation in the KC Shasha Conference Suite, Woolf building, CB3 0UB.

Join us in-person or online for the talk followed by Q&A. A link to this webinar can be found below.


The transformation of each of us from a fertilised egg to an organism with trillions of cells arranged in incredibly complicated ways is a wonder of biology. Each of us is a “self-made” individual, as the programme of develop unfolds. This programme certainly involves the expression of genes, but also form-shaping movements carried out on a massive scale with intricate choreography that – ironically – lacks a sentient choreographer. Development is also robust – many animal embryos can regulate how they develop after massive perturbations, and artificial aggregates of cells can be coaxed to organise in ways that strikingly resemble intact embryos. Does this robustness defy scientific explanation? Do we need to postulate some vital force to explain it? Biologists are beginning to learn in increasing detail how form arises in the embryo. The intricacies of this cellular world provide opportunities for profound wonder, but also raise larger questions about our identity and our place in the world.