Terry Orr-Weaver

Terry Orr-Weaver

Professor Emerita; Alumna, Whitehead Institute

Before closing her lab, Terry Orr-Weaver probed the incredibly complex and coordinated process of development from egg to fertilized embryo and ultimately adult.






  • PhD, 1984, Harvard University
  • BA, 1977, Chemistry, University of California - San Diego

Research Summary

Before retiring from MIT, Terry Orr-Weaver investigated the processes controlling cell division and cell size during development. She studied the transition from oocyte to embryo, the regulators involved, and how this leads to cell cycle changes from meiosis to embryonic mitosis. She also aimed to delineate the coordination of cell size between tissue layers and the regulation of replication origin activation and replication fork progression.


  • Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Excellence in Science Award, 2013
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow, 2010
  • National Academy of Sciences, Member, 2006
  • American Academy of Microbiology, Fellow, 2006

Key Publications

  1. Control of PNG kinase, a key regulator of mRNA translation, is coupled to meiosis completion at egg activation. Hara, M, Petrova, B, Orr-Weaver, TL. 2017. Elife 6, .
    doi: 10.7554/eLife.22219PMID:28555567
  2. Replication fork progression during re-replication requires the DNA damage checkpoint and double-strand break repair. Alexander, JL, Barrasa, MI, Orr-Weaver, TL. 2015. Curr Biol 25, 1654-60.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.04.058PMID:26051888
  3. DNA copy-number control through inhibition of replication fork progression. Nordman, JT, Kozhevnikova, EN, Verrijzer, CP, Pindyurin, AV, Andreyeva, EN, Shloma, VV, Zhimulev, IF, Orr-Weaver, TL. 2014. Cell Rep 9, 841-9.
    doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.10.005PMID:25437540
  4. Widespread changes in the posttranscriptional landscape at the Drosophila oocyte-to-embryo transition. Kronja, I, Yuan, B, Eichhorn, SW, Dzeyk, K, Krijgsveld, J, Bartel, DP, Orr-Weaver, TL. 2014. Cell Rep 7, 1495-1508.
    doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.05.002PMID:24882012
  5. Polyploidization of glia in neural development links tissue growth to blood-brain barrier integrity. Unhavaithaya, Y, Orr-Weaver, TL. 2012. Genes Dev 26, 31-6.
    doi: 10.1101/gad.177436.111PMID:22215808

Recent Publications

  1. Early genome activation in Drosophila is extensive with an initial tendency for aborted transcripts and retained introns. Kwasnieski, JC, Orr-Weaver, TL, Bartel, DP. 2019. Genome Res 29, 1188-1197.
    doi: 10.1101/gr.242164.118PMID:31235656
  2. Dynamic changes in ORC localization and replication fork progression during tissue differentiation. Hua, BL, Bell, GW, Kashevsky, H, Von Stetina, JR, Orr-Weaver, TL. 2018. BMC Genomics 19, 623.
    doi: 10.1186/s12864-018-4992-3PMID:30134926
  3. Dynamic redox balance directs the oocyte-to-embryo transition via developmentally controlled reactive cysteine changes. Petrova, B, Liu, K, Tian, C, Kitaoka, M, Freinkman, E, Yang, J, Orr-Weaver, TL. 2018. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 115, E7978-E7986.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.1807918115PMID:30082411
  4. Identification of PNG kinase substrates uncovers interactions with the translational repressor TRAL in the oocyte-to-embryo transition. Hara, M, Lourido, S, Petrova, B, Lou, HJ, Von Stetina, JR, Kashevsky, H, Turk, BE, Orr-Weaver, TL. 2018. Elife 7, .
    doi: 10.7554/eLife.33150PMID:29480805
  5. Activating embryonic development in Drosophila. Avilés-Pagán, EE, Orr-Weaver, TL. 2018. Semin Cell Dev Biol 84, 100-110.
    doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2018.02.019PMID:29448071
  6. Variant cell cycles regulated by Notch signaling control cell size and ensure a functional blood-brain barrier. Von Stetina, JR, Frawley, LE, Unhavaithaya, Y, Orr-Weaver, TL. 2018. Development 145, .
    doi: 10.1242/dev.157115PMID:29440220
  7. Drosophila protein phosphatases 2A B' Wdb and Wrd regulate meiotic centromere localization and function of the MEI-S332 Shugoshin. Pinto, BS, Orr-Weaver, TL. 2017. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114, 12988-12993.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.1718450114PMID:29158400
  8. DNA Replication Control During Drosophila Development: Insights into the Onset of S Phase, Replication Initiation, and Fork Progression. Hua, BL, Orr-Weaver, TL. 2017. Genetics 207, 29-47.
    doi: 10.1534/genetics.115.186627PMID:28874453
  9. Control of PNG kinase, a key regulator of mRNA translation, is coupled to meiosis completion at egg activation. Hara, M, Petrova, B, Orr-Weaver, TL. 2017. Elife 6, .
    doi: 10.7554/eLife.22219PMID:28555567
  10. Replication fork instability and the consequences of fork collisions from rereplication. Alexander, JL, Orr-Weaver, TL. 2016. Genes Dev 30, 2241-2252.
    doi: 10.1101/gad.288142.116PMID:27898391
More Publications



Photo credit: Gretchen Ertl/Whitehead Institute