Dietrich M. Egli, PhD

  • Assistant Professor of Developmental Cell Biology (in Pediatrics)
Profile Headshot


Dieter Egli obtained his PhD degree from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, with Walter Schaffner, and trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University with Kevin Eggan. He joined the New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute as a Research Fellow, conducting work on somatic cell reprogramming in human eggs. He is now the Maimonides Assistant Professor of Developmental Cell Biology at Columbia University, with appointments at the Department of Pediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Egli’s group studies a broad range of topics, which are connected at the level of the pluripotent stem cell, and combine basic research with therapeutic goals. The study of stem cell derived human beta cells enables the study of genes and pathways involved in beta cell failure, while also providing a source of cells that will likely be useful for cell replacement. Through grafting of human stem cell derived beta cells into animal models of diabetes we can study human genotypes in a physiologically relevant environment. In our studies to reprogram somatic cells of a diabetes patient to pluripotent stem cells, we discovered that this transition is associated with replication-dependent genetic instability. Similarly, we have seen that genetic instability is frequent during early human embryonic development, and associated with developmental arrest. A central goal of our group is to better understand the differences in the duplication of the DNA between different cell types, how these differences affect genetic stability, and to understand their functional relevance. A novel concept emerging from these studies is that cell-type specific DNA replication provides a quality control system for cell proliferation, limiting the number of cellular states compatible with the duplication of the DNA. There are numerous exciting project opportunities emerging from this concept, including on stem cell models of pregnancy loss. Other projects conducted in the Egli lab are on mitochondrial replacement and on haploid pluripotent stem cells.

Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Developmental Cell Biology (in Pediatrics)


  • 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