Dr Mike McGrew

Senior Lecturer


Mike McGrew is a group leader at The Roslin Institute, UK. He obtained his PhD from Boston University and pursued a research program in embryology at the IBDM in France. There, he was part of a research group that discovered a basic mechanism controlling the timing of the formation of body segments in vertebrates, now known as the ‘segmentation clock’. Afterwards, he joined The Roslin Institute in 2001 to help develop transgenesis in chickens for use in developmental biology and bio-pharming.

His laboratory works on a type of stem cell in birds, the primordial germ cell, which makes the sperm and eggs of birds. These cells can be used to generate gene edited chickens, chicken which contain precise genetic changes in their genome.

A benefit of this research will be the technology to create bio-banks (frozen aviaries) using germ cells. This is needed as the traditional methods used for species cryopreservation using semen and eggs are either inefficient or impossible in birds. Avian bio-banks will aid in the efforts to both manage and conserve both rare and industrial breeds of poultry. The future challenge is to extend biobanking to endangered bird species.


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Boston University Regulation of the Myosin Light Chain 3 (MLC3) promoter in cardiac and skeletal muscle Bachelor of Science, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.

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