Sally Dunwoodie heads the Embryology Laboratory at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute (VCCRI) and is a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of New South Wales. She gained a PhD researching the genetics of muscle development, at the Children’s Medical Research Institute and University of Sydney. She then undertook postdoctoral training in the Mammalian Development Unit at the National Institute for Medical Research, in London, UK. There she identified genes required for mammalian embryogenesis. In 2000, Sally returned to Australia to take up a faculty position at the VCCRI. Since then she has been awarded the Pfizer Foundation Australia Senior Research Fellowship and the Australian and New Zealand Society of Cell and Developmental Biology (ANZSCDB) Young Investigator Award. Sally currently holds a NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship and is President Elect of the ANZSCDB. Sally is a developmental biologist studying the molecular and cellular processes of mammalian embryogenesis with a focus on heart and vertebral column formation. She is internationally recognised for defining genetic causes of congenital vertebral defects. Diagnostic genetic tests are available for congenital malformations as a result of her research findings. Sally is embracing some of the newest genomic technologies to identify disease-causing mutations in hundreds of families with heart defects, among others. She is also exploring the impact that environmental factors and gene-environment interaction have on embryogenesis.