Embryology Building
Photo by Connie Jewell

Andrew Carnegie founded the Carnegie Institution of Washington in 1902 as an organization for scientific discovery. The Department of Embryology, founded in 1913 in affiliation with the Anatomy Department of Johns Hopkins University, is one of six departments within the Carnegie Institution of Washington. During the succeeding decades a fundamental description of human development and path-breaking experimental studies emerged. In 1960, the Department moved from the medical school to the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus at 115 West University Parkway. The move initiated a close relationship with the JHU Department of Biology and bolstered a new research focus on understanding fundamental developmental mechanisms at the cellular and molecular level. Since then, departmental staff have uncovered the role played by genes during embryogenesis, developed widely used experimental methodologies, trained several scientific generations of biologists while they worked in the labs as postdoctoral fellows, and shared with Biology a graduate program and many intellectual ties. In 1987, Embryology Department faculty were first appointed Investigators of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

In 2005, the Department moved to its new building, the Maxine F. Singer research building (read transcript of dedication speech), located on the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus at 3520 San Martin Drive. During this history, the Department of Embryology has become recognized worldwide as one of the premier research centers in cellular, developmental and genetic biology. The department has a unique atmosphere and research style that have allowed a small enterprise to have a disproportionately large impact on science. We revere this atmosphere as the source of our inspiration and strive to further improve it as the department evolves within the current milieu of intensive activity, investment and opportunity in the biological sciences.