New Scientist Science Talent 2023: Bernadette de Bakker

October 30, 2023

Last month, university lecturer at Amsterdam UMC and medical embryologist Bernadette de Bakker was awarded the title of New Scientist Science Talent 2023! De Bakker’s research illuminates the complexities of embryonic and fetal development through the ‘3D Embryo Anatomy Atlas.’ Out of 15 candidates, including Karuna van der Meij from Amsterdam UMC, de Bakker’s work was unanimously recognized by the jury. On November 21st, she will be honoured at the Science Gala (Gala van de Wetenschap).

The 3D Embryo Anatomy Atlas and the Fetal Biobank
Pregnancy, a miraculous journey from cells to a tiny human, holds profound mysteries. Bernadette de Bakker’s research, using micro-CT and 3D echo techniques, maps the complex details of embryonic development in high microscopic resolution. This work has led to numerous discoveries about human development. Additionally, she founded the Fetal Biobank, allowing parents to donate deceased embryos or fetuses for scientific research, which plays a crucial role in researching complex aspects of how humans develop.

Meet the embryologist
What drives Bernadette? “I strive to make human development comprehensible for patients, students, and researchers worldwide by employing cutting-edge 3D imaging techniques,” says Bernadette de Bakker. Her dedication is evident not only in her unique research, but also in her efforts to make the research data accessible to scientists worldwide.

Future goal
According to an interview with NewScientist, Bernadette has a beautiful goal in mind: “I want to establish a fetal imaging centre to conduct research on people who have experienced a miscarriage. Currently, research is only conducted if you have had three or more miscarriages. Parents want to know the reason behind a miscarriage.…I hope that this centre will be established within five years.”

For more details, explore Bernadette de Bakker’s research, the 3D Embryo Anatomy Atlas, and the Fetal Biobank at 3D Human Development Project website.

  • Bernadette is the winner of the Amsterdam Science and Innovation Award 2019, in the category Life Sciences, and took part in IXA’s Impact Program in 2022; in order to better learn how her research can make the strongest impact on society.
  • Read the interview with New Scientist Science Talent 2023 Bernadette  de Bakker