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Women in Science

Marella did her first degree at Leiden University. She did her postdoc also in the Netherlands, and next spent two years in the US before accepting a tenure-track position at Oxford, in the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine.

Portrait of Marella de Bruijn© Women in Science


at the time of the interview - May 2015

Marella is an Associate Professor of Developmental Haematopoiesis at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Radcliffe Department of Medicine, where she works in the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit.  

Extended Biography

at the time of the interview - May 2015

Marella enjoyed science at school, where she had stimulating and enthusiastic biology and physics teachers. She went on to study Biomedical Sciences at Leiden University in the Netherlands. As she much enjoyed the practical laboratory projects during her degree, she decided to continue in science. She did her PhD at the Department of Immunology, Erasmus University Rotterdam on macrophage development in the bone marrow.

Marella got a postdoctoral position at the Department of Cell Biology and Genetics, also at Erasmus University Rotterdam. During the 4-year postdoc, a visiting scientist from the US encouraged Marella to pursue a career as an independent scientist. At the end of her first postdoc, Marella applied for a fellowship from the Dutch Cancer Society, which provided her with funding to spend two years in the US as a postdoctoral fellow. After that she applied for Assistant Professorship positions, or their equivalent, in North America and Europe. She started her tenure-track Programme Leader position at the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit in 2003, moving from the US to Oxford. Marella was awarded tenure in 2009, and is currently Associate Professor of Developmental Hematopoiesis at Oxford.

Marella’s research focuses on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie the generation of blood stem cells in embryonic development. She had little off-time for a period of about 5 years, but after that restored some work-life balance. She still works hard but makes sure she can spend some time gardening too.

Recently Marella attended a programme at the Said Business School, Oxford called ‘Women Transforming Leadership’, which she found energizing and empowering. The programme took place over a week, followed by some meetings with an executive coach to implement things learned. Marella enjoys working as a scientist and finds it a rewarding career. Ethnic background/Nationality: Dutch.