The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 65: 123 - 129 (2021)

Vol 65, Issue 1-2-3

Special Issue: Developmental Biology in Ibero-America - Part 1

A tale of turns and cycles guiding to neural crest migration - an interview with Roberto Mayor

Published: 20 August 2020

Miguel L. Concha*,1,2,3

1Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad de Chile, 2Biomedical Neuroscience Institute and 3Center for Geroscience, Brain Health and Metabolism, Santiago, Chile


Roberto Mayor is a prominent Chilean developmental biologist working in the UK and an advocate of the developmental biology discipline in Latin America. Roberto started as a preimplantation mouse developmental biologist during his undergraduate and graduate studies in Chile. Yet, he now uses Xenopus and zebrafish to elucidate the mechanisms that drive the directed collective locomotion of neural crest cells. What life events moulded the research career of Roberto across the years? This article addresses this question and provides a personal perspective on his scientific achievements. The story of Roberto is a mix of turns and cycles that ultimately guided him to the migrating neural crest. Turns that made him shift between model organisms and scientific topics. Cycles that drove him back and forth between Chile and the UK and which have connected his early studies as an undergraduate student with the most recent work of his lab. A big lesson that we can learn from the life of Roberto is that no matter how much you plan your life always serendipity plays a significant role. But you have to be alert and brave to take the opportunities that life offers you.


Developmental Biology, collective cell migration, neural crest, Xenopus, zebrafish, Chile, UK

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