Dietrich M. Egli, PhD

  • Associate Professor of Developmental Cell Biology (in Pediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynecology)
Profile Headshot


Dieter Egli obtained his PhD degree from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. He joined the New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute as a Research Fellow in 2008. He is now Associate Professor of Developmental Cell Biology at Columbia University, with appointments at the Department of Pediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center and the Columbia Stem Cell Initiative.

Dr. Egli’s group studies genome stability in early development, differentiation, and reprogramming. Our studies revealed that difficult-to-replicate sites in the genome frequently result in DNA breaks, genetic change, and developmental failure early in human development. In differentiated cells and during reprogramming, these same sites are also fragile, and thereby promote cell cycle exit and terminal differentiation, and inhibit reprogramming to a stem cell like state. In addition to detrimental genetic change, DNA damage during cell cycle progression can have physiologically meaningful outcomes in generating novel genetic variants during early development, and mediating cell cycle exit during differentiation. Exploring the role of fragile sites in these different contexts is a primary aim of our studies. We are using early mammalian embryos, stem cell-based models of metabolic disorders, and genome engineering for these studies.

Academic Appointments

  • Associate Professor of Developmental Cell Biology (in Pediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynecology)


  • French
  • German


  • Male

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • PhD, 2003 Molecular Biology, University of Zurich (Switzerland)

Honors & Awards

1994 Awarded membership in the ‘Schweizerische Studienstiftung’, a foundation that promotes outstanding students.

2000 Excellency award for Masters

2003 Excellency award for PhD thesis

2011 Time magazine ‘Medical Breakthrough of the Year’

2011 Time magazine ‘People who mattered in 2011’

2012-2017 NYSCF-Robertson Investigator

2015 Maimonides Assistant Professor

2016 Harold and Golden Lamport Award for Excellence in Clinical Science Research