Nancy S. Rafferty Lectureship

rafferty-1The Nancy S. Rafferty Lectureship in Embryology has been established to recognize Dr. Rafferty’s long career in eye research. Dr. Rafferty was instrumental in elucidating the ultrastructural relationship between lens accommodation and actin filament arrays in mammals and amphibians.

Dr. Rafferty received her M.S and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois in 1953 and 1958, respectively, under the tutelage of Dr. S. Meryl Rose. Following her dissertation work, Dr. Rafferty completed a postdoctoral fellowship at The Johns Hopkins University, where she subsequently served as assistant professor in the department of anatomy in the School of Medicine. In 1970, she and her husband Keen moved to the Chicago area, where she joined the department of anatomy at Northwestern University Medical School. She was promoted to professor in 1976.

During her career, Dr. Rafferty published 55 journal articles and 31 abstracts. She served on study sections of the National Institutes of Health and was a member of the Vision Advisory Research Committee. Dr. Rafferty traveled the world giving invited talks in Great Britain (Guy’s Hospital Medical School, Nottingham University, Oxford University and Edinburgh University), East Germany, Holland, Spain, Canada, Japan, Australia, San Francisco, Finland, and Sweden.

Dr. Rafferty first came to the MBL in 1955 as a student in the Embryology course. She returned periodically to conduct research at the MBL beginning in 1988. Upon retirement from Northwestern in 1994, she moved her laboratory to MBL where she was a Senior Scientist and a member of the Corporation.

Dr. Rafferty and her husband long felt a love for the MBL and Woods Hole. She would have been particularly pleased that a lectureship in embryology has been established in her name.


Sharon Amacher, University of California, Berkeley – 2009
Janet Rossant, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto/University of Toronto – 2010
Jon Henry, University of Illinois – 2011
Michael Shapiro, Univ. of Utah – 2012
Paul Trainor, Stowers Institute for Medical Research – 2013
Geraldine Elke Ober, The Danish Stem Cell Center, Univ. of Copenhagen – 2014
Geraldine Seydoux, Johns Hopkins Medical School/HHMI – 2015
Andrea Streit, King’s College, London – 2016
Tatjana Sauka-Spengler, University of Oxford – 2017
Rachel Smith-Bolton, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign – 2018