Catherine Robin received her PhD in 2000 at the Denis Diderot Paris VII University in Paris (France). She did her PhD research in the laboratory of Dr. W. Vainchenker in the group of Dr. L. Coulombel where she identified hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in cord blood, adult bone marrow and human embryos. She received a French fellowship (“La ligue nationale contre le cancer”) followed by a European Marie Curie long-term fellowship to join the laboratory of Prof. E. Dzierzak, in the Cell Biology Department of Prof. F. Grosveld at the Erasmus University Medical Center of Rotterdam (The Netherlands).
Her postdoctoral research focused on understanding the precise localization and regulation of the first HSCs emerging in the mid-gestation mouse embryo. She notably identified several signaling molecules involved in embryonic HSC survival and expansion. In 2006, she received a NWO (Vidi Award) Dutch young investigator grant to start her own research group at the Erasmus Stem Cell Institute for Regenerative Medicine (Rotterdam). By combining time-lapse confocal imaging and new dissection procedures she visualized, for the first time, the dynamic de novo emergence of the first HSCs from specialized endothelial cells (named hemogenic) directly inside the mouse embryonic aorta.