Authorised form of nameMoor; Robert Michael (1937 - 2021)
Dates1937 - 2021
Place of birthEstcourt, Natal, South Africa
Date of birth28/09/1937
Date of death10/03/2021
Research fieldDevelopmental biology
Stem cells
Fertilisation in vitro
Estcourt School, South Africa; officer training, South African Artillery; studied animal science at University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermartizburg, South Africa; Animal Research Station, University of Cambridge, PhD (1964)
Animal Research Station, University of Cambridge; Babraham Institute (1986-1999); retired (1999); NATO ambassador, Civil Science Programme, in which capacity he facilitated NATO funding of scientific work in former Soviet states, he resigned from the programme along with all the other ambassadors after the 9/11 attack on America when the USA ceased their unconditional funding wanting to shift the programme's focus exclusively to security
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election10/03/1994
Age at election56
Royal Society activityCommittee and panels:
Royal Society Research Grants Scheme - Board F, 1998-2000; International Travel Grants: Panel 7, 2001-2006; Conference Grants and Short Visits: Panels 1-9, 2001-2006 ; Conference Grants Committee: 2001-2003
RelationshipsSon of Donald and Gwendolen nee Whitby; married Felicia Stephens
Published works
General contextRobert Michael Moor made many important contributions to the science of reproduction and developmental biology. While Robert’s experimental findings had direct implications for the understanding of early development, their influence extends to the wider issues of human fertility, stem cells, cloning and animal breeding.

He discovered the role of luteolytic factors in maintaining ovarian cyclicity in ungulates and the mechanisms that underpin the maternal recognition of pregnancy. He established the importance of a number of signalling molecules and proteins required for the healthy maturation — and subsequent fertilisation — of oocytes. He successfully combined this knowledge with techniques he developed for fertilising and growing eggs in vitro, resulting in the production of viable embryos for transfer to surrogate mothers.

Before his retirement, Robert worked on techniques for creating transgenic animals, improving nuclear transplantation and producing stem cells from mammals. His two later interests were identifying sequences that act as translational regulators of stored messenger RNAs in oocytes and determining the role of glycoproteins in directing stem cell function in the ovary.

Dr Robert Moor FRS died on 10 March 2021.
Royal Society profile page (, accessed 16 April 2021)
Society for Reproduction and Fertility (2021), 'Dr Robert Michael Moor' (Obituary,, accessed 16 April 2021)
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA4608
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
EC/1994/26Moor, Robert Michael: certificate of election to the Royal Society10/07/1989
IM/003152Moor, Robert Michael1994
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