The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 65: 23 - 28 (2021)

Vol 65, Issue 1-2-3

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

UNESCO Chair of Developmental Biology: how an initiative that fostered careers in Developmental Biology impacted Brazilian Science

Published: 25 August 2020

Jose G. Abreu*

Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


The UNESCO Chair in Developmental Biology started in 1998, at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil. This Chair was a Brazilian-French initiative led by Professor Vivaldo Moura Neto and Professor Nicole Le Douarin, one of the most inspiring Developmental Biologists of the 20th and 21st centuries. The UNESCO Chair wanted to stimulate interest in Developmental Biology among Brazilian students and scientists by organizing annual international courses on Evolution and Developmental Biology at an advanced level. At the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, the UNESCO Chair established an international laboratory for the permanent training of researchers and the development of research programs in Developmental Biology and related areas. Moreover, the program aimed at establishing an international network connecting Brazilian Universities and research centers in Latin America and Europe. The advanced hands-on courses, symposiums, and workshops promoted by this Chair inspired the careers of many young scientists. They generated new lines of research in Developmental Biology using a variety of animal models. This review does not intend to bring up all the historical events that marked the beginning of Developmental Biology in Brazil. Instead, it will be dedicated to highlighting one specific initiative that inspired a new generation of Developmental Biologists who established important research lines and contributed to the advance of this scientific field in Brazil.


UNESCO, Brazil, Nicole Le Dourain, Evo Devo, training, teaching

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