skip to content

Cambridge Stem Cell Institute


Stanley Strawbridge is a stem cell and developmental biologist working at the interface of experimental and theoretical biology. He is interested in how stem cells make decisions, the formation of signalling gradients in the embryo, and the transcription factor networks governing cell states. He studies developmental programs in both the mouse and human systems using the tools of fluorescence and super-resolution microscopy, RNA sequencing, dynamical systems modelling, and machine learning.


Stanley began developing his dual background with his studies at West Virginia University where he earned bachelor’s degrees in biochemistry and mathematics. There he won a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) scholarship for chemical threats and counter measures. Through this program he worked on countermeasures to chemical and biological weapons at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense and the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, respectively. After completing a year of service to DHS, Stanley accepted a place at the University of Oxford’s Mathematical Institute to study for a master’s in mathematical modelling and scientific computing. There he focused on using the tools of mathematics to study biological systems. He then pursued his PhD in biochemistry at the University of Cambridge in the Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute (CSCI) through the Microsoft Research PhD Scholarship Programme under Austin Smith. His thesis focused on the dynamics of embryonic stem cells as they take their next steps in the mammalian developmental program. It was through this work that he developed a love for stem cells, development, and the blastocyst. This led to his postdoctoral work with Jennifer Nichols and Srinjan Basu at the CSCI where he studied the plasticity of cells in the pre-implantation embryo as they become either the embryonic or extra-embryonic cell types that form the blastocyst. As a result of this work, he secured a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship to investigate how signalling gradients are formed in the blastocyst and how these signals drive cell-fate decisions. He continues to be hosted at the CSCI and is jointly sponsored by Srinjan Basu (Imperial/Cambridge), Alexander Fletch (Sheffield), David Holcman (ENS Paris), and Jennifer Nichols (Edinburgh).


Key publications: 

S.E. Strawbridge*, S. Kurowski, E. Corujo-Simon, A.N. Fletcher, J. Nichols*, A.G. Fletcher* (2023) insideOutside: an accessible algorithm for classifying interior and exterior points, with applications in embryology. Biology Open.

M. Steindel, I. de Almeida, S.E. Strawbridge, V. Chernova, D. Holcman, A. Ponjavic, S. Basu. (2022) Studying the dynamics of chromatin-binding proteins in mammalian cells using single-molecule localisation microscopy. Methods in Molecular Biology, Springer Press.

S. Bergman#, C. Pendorf#, E. Slatery#, D. Siriwardena, C. Drummer, S. Clarke, S.E.Strawbridge, K. Kishimoto, A. Vickers, M. Tewary, T. Kohler, F. Hollfelder, W. Reik, E. Sasaki, R. Behr, and T.E. Boroviak* (2022) Spatial profiling of early primate gastrulation in utero. Nature.

S.E. Strawbridge, J. Clarke, G. Guo, J. Nichols* (2022) Deriving human naïve embryonic stem cell lines from donated supernumerary embryos using physical distancing and signal inhibition. Methods in Molecular Biology, Springer Press.

G. Guo#, G.G. Stirparo#, S.E. Strawbridge#, D. Spindlow, J. Yang, J. Clarke, A. Dattani, A. Yanagida M.A. Li, S. Myers, B.N. Özel, J. Nichols*, A. Smith* (2021) Human naïve epiblast cells possess unrestricted lineage potential. Cell Stem Cell.

G.G. Stirparo#, A.K. Kurowski#, A. Yanigida, L.E. Bates, S.E. Strawbridge, S. Hladkou, H.T. Stuart, T.E. Boroviak, J.C.R. Silva, J. Nichols*. (2021) Oct4 induces embryonic pluripotency via STAT3 signalling and metabolic mechanisms. PNAS.

S.E. Strawbridge, G.B. Blanchard, A.G. Smith*, H. Kugler*, G. Martello* (2020) Dynamics of the formative pluripotency transition: a variable lag period generates population asynchrony. Stem Cell Reports. Under review. bioRxiv 2020.06.17.157578;

# = authors contributed equally, * = corresponding author.


Early Mammalian Development
Embryonic Stem Cells
Mathematical Modelling
Single-Molecule Imaging
Image Processing
Quantitative Biology
Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow
Bye-Fellow, Christ's College

Contact Details

Available for consultancy