Terry Orr-Weaver

Terry Orr-Weaver

Professor of Biology; American Cancer Society Research Professor; Member, Whitehead Institute

Terry Orr-Weaver probes the incredibly complex and coordinated process of development from egg to fertilized embryo and ultimately adult.






Assistant Phone


PhD 1984, Harvard University

Research Summary

Our goal is to understand the processes controlling cell division and cell size during development. We investigate the transition from oocyte to embryo, the regulators involved, and how this leads to cell cycle changes from meiosis to embryonic mitosis. We also aim 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. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Activating embryonic development in Drosophila. Avilés-Pagán, EE, Orr-Weaver, TL. 2018. Semin. Cell Dev. Biol. , .
    doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2018.02.019PMID:29448071
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. Multiple mechanisms contribute to double-strand break repair at rereplication forks in Drosophila follicle cells. Alexander, JL, Beagan, K, Orr-Weaver, TL, McVey, M. 2016. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 113, 13809-13814.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.1617110113PMID:27849606
More Publications



Photo credit: Gretchen Ertl/Whitehead Institute