Our April blog and radio show celebrates the extraordinary life and work of Dr. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, biologist, geneticist, Nobel Prize winner, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany, “Head of the Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard Foundation supporting women scientists with young children”, and musician. She is dedicated to helping support young women scientists with young children to be successful.

Included is an article on the power of music for health and fitness. Our article of the month is “Handling Adversity the Coach Wooden Way” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM

Radio Show Feature Question for April 2017: How does Classical Music play a part of Dr. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard’s life as a biologist, geneticist, Nobel Prize winner, professor, author, and musician and what musical instruments does she play?


Dr. Christiane “Janni” Nüsslein-Volhard was born during WWII on Oct. 20, 1942 in Magdeburg, Germany to Rolf Volhard, architect and Brigitte (Haas) Volhard, a musician and painter. She is the second of five children and her father is the eighth of ten children. Her father Rolf’s father was Dr. Franz Volhard, professor of medicine in Frankfurt specializing in heart and kidney. Her mother Brigitte (Haas) Volhard was also from a large family. Christiane said, her grandmother Lies Haas-Mollmann, her mother, Brigitte’s mother, “ was a remarkable woman of strong discipline and character. Her paintings and drawings are very beautiful, impressionist style, and show a great eye.” She visited her often in Heidelberg during Easter vacation.

Christiane as a young child learned to play the flute and later sang lieder. Her parents and siblings all play musical instruments and painted. Dr. Nüsslein-Volhard says, “When my family gets together, we play music. We take our art seriously.”

Christiane says she “had a happy childhood” with her family living in Frankfurt “with a rather large garden, close to the forest”. “When we grew up we did not have much money, so we learned to sew our own dresses, and generally were educated to make things we could make ourselves”. With her father she “discussed Goethe’s scientific papers”.

She says, “Within my family I was the only one with lasting interests in sciences. This was supported by my parents by giving me the right books, and by my brother and sisters by listening to my tales and theories.”


As a child she visited her grandparents’ farm in the summer and helped with the harvest and the animals. She said, “The food was wonderful.” By the time she was 12 she “wanted to be a biologist.” She would later become fascinated with the description of the mutations in the fruit fly, Drosophila, and would make discoveries about “the genetic control of early embryonic development” and be awarded the Nobel Prize.


In school her favorite courses were “German literature, mathematics, and biology.”


Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard in 1964 “completed her degrees in biology, physics, and chemistry from Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-University”. In 1968 she earned her “diploma in biochemistry” and in 1973 Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard earned her “doctorate in biology and genetics from Eberhard-Karl University of Tubingen”.


Dr. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard said,

“I looked around for an organism in which genetics could be applied to developmental problems, and found the descriptions of the early Drosophila mutants, including bicaudal, in a review by Ted Wright (1971). Further, the description of the first rescue experiments of a maternal mutant was published by Garen and Gehring in 1972.”


In 1975, Dr. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard moved to Basel to do post-doctoral work in Dr. Walter Gehring’s lab. She began her “landmark study of genetic mutations in the fruit fly drosophila.” She says, “I immediately loved working with flies. They fascinated me and followed me around in my dreams.”


“She learned to screen for mutants and developed techniques to analyze the mutations.” At Gehring’s lab, Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard “met Eric Wieschaus, an American, who was finishing his Ph.D. thesis” their. She moved from Gehring’s Lab, after two years, “back to Freiburg to work with Klaus Sander who was an insect embryologist, and was the first to describe gradients in the insect egg. Sander’s experiments influenced Nüsslein-Volhard’s thinking, especially on some of the Drosophila mutants she was working.”

She moved to Heidelberg after accepting a job working “at the new European Molecular Biology Laboratory” in 1978. At the same time “Eric Wieschaus was hired” and they “began working together to analyze embryonic Drosophila mutants and developed a screen to isolate new mutations. Within three years, Nüsslein-Volhard and Wieschaus’ labs managed to isolate enough mutants and work out the major events in embryonic Drosophila development.” In 1980 in Nature “they published their results in a landmark paper.”


In 1981, Dr. Nüsslein-Volhard became the “head of a junior research group at the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory of the Max Planck Society in Tübingen” through 1984. “She continued to work on Drosophila, screening for and isolating new maternal mutations that affected development.” She also “began working on the molecular biology aspects of the mutations.”


In 1985, Dr. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard became the “Director and Scientific Member at the Max Planck Institute of Developmental Biology.” She continues working their today!


In 1986, Dr. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard “was honored with the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the Deutsche”, the top prize “awarded in German research.” In 1991, Dr. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard “won the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research”.


Dr. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard “and colleague Dr. Eric Wieschaus identified the key genes responsible for embryonic development in drosophila and amassed a detailed catalog of mutations that cause physiological defects—insights that help scientists better understand human development.”


“The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1995 was awarded jointly to Edward B. Lewis, Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and Eric F. Wieschaus “for their discoveries concerning the genetic control of early embryonic development”.


Our future blogs and Radio Shows will feature Dr. Eric F. Wieschaus and Dr. Edward B. Lewis.

At “the Nobel Banquet Speech held on 10 Dec 1995”, Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard said:

“The three of us have worked on the development of the small and totally harmless fruit fly, Drosophila. This animal has been extremely cooperative in our hands – and has revealed to us some of its innermost secrets and tricks for developing from a single celled egg to a complex living being of great beauty and harmony. … None of us expected that our work would be so successful or that our findings would ever have relevance to medicine.”

As an author, Dr. Nüsslein-Volhard has written the following books: “Of Fish, Fly, Worm, and Man: Lessons from Developmental Biology for Human Gene Function and Disease” (2000), “Zebrafish: A Practical Approach” with Ralf Dahm (2002), and “Coming to Life: How Genes Drive Development” (2006).

In 2006, Dr. Nüsslein-Volhard said, “We are now mostly working with zebra fish. There is great variation in fishes, and if we can understand it in fishes then perhaps we can also figure out the differences in mammals. And it’s much easier to work with fishes than with mammals.”


Dr. Nüsslein-Volhard said in a New York Times interview in 2006, “There is terrible prejudice against women who are successful. If she’s beautiful, she must be stupid. And if a woman is smart, she must be ugly — or nasty. I think it makes some people feel better to learn I bake good chocolate cake.”


“Dr. Nüsslein-Volhard is the director of the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany, and heads the Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard Foundation, which supports women scientists with young children.”


Dr. Christiane Nusslein-Volhard is a biologist, geneticist, Nobel Prize winner, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany, “Head of the Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard Foundation supporting women scientists with young children”, and a lifelong musician.


Handling Adversity the Coach Wooden Way” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D, DTM

How do you handle adversity? Do you react to it or respond to it?

John Wooden endured far more than losing basketball games or suffering the agony of defeat, yet his attitude paved the way for him to earn the title of the “Winning-est” basketball coach of all time.

Lesson #1: Life isn’t fair; I will still make it great.

Lessons on adversity:

While Coach Wooden was growing up, his family endured the loss of two sisters. Wooden’s parents placed their faith in God, and they “persevered”.

Later, Wooden’s father lost the family farm due to an illness that wiped out his hogs, and drought that killed the crops. His dad, Hugh Wooden, never winced. He understood that “blaming, cursing, hating doesn’t help you. It hurts you.”

John Wooden understood that “whining; complaining, and excuses didn’t accomplish anything.” No matter what happens on the court or off, “what you do is more important than what you say you’ll do.”

Make the best of what you have:

When Coach Wooden accepted the Coaching position in 1948 for the UCLA’s Bruins the Men’s Gym was used by all the schools other teams and was small and inadequate.

Coach Wooden did not “whine or complain” about it. He did the very best he could with the situation he was handed. He held practices at the Men’s Gym. For the Bruins games, Coach moved them to larger facilities in Los Angeles – the Pan Pacific Auditorium, the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, and to other facilities.

UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion was built 17 years later in 1965.

Lesson #2: Choose your words carefully.

The words you choose to live with are an extension of your integrity.

When John and his older brother Maurice were in the barn messing around, “Maurice grabbed a pitchfork and flipped a pile of manure at John’s face. John lunged at Maurice in anger and cursed at him. Their father, had been standing nearby, but instead of reproaching Maurice for instigating the fight, he came down on John for his foul language.”

In the Wooden household profanity was forbidden. Hugh never swore and “made sure John understood the severity of his transgression. Hugh whipped” John “with a switch.” Coach said, “It was the only time I remember him using it.” (“Wooden: A Coaches Life” by Seth Davis)

After that lesson John never used profanity, and he was fond of reminding other coaches that you don’t need to use profanity to motivate players.

So what did Coach Wooden say when he was really angry? “Goodness gracious, sakes alive!”

Lesson #3: When something goes wrong the leader, boss, or coach accepts blame. When something goes right give others the credit!

In 1974 during the NCAA semifinals, the UCLA Bruins were favored to win, but lost to North Carolina State. Coach Wooden accepted “full responsibility for that game, saying that his failure to call a timeout and make adjustments was the reason for the loss.”

Coach Wooden modeled how great leadership is “the sharing of ideas, information, creativity, responsibilities, and tasks.” He listened carefully during his meetings with assistant coaches for new ideas on how do something better during practice. If the idea worked he would implement it and give the assistant coach credit for it. Coach said, “The only thing not to be shared is blame.” Leaders that are strong “accept blame, and give credit, when deserved to others.” (“Be Quick-But Don’t Hurry” by Andrew Hill and John Wooden)

“When a player scored in a game, Coach encouraged him to give a nod to the teammate who had given him the pass or set a pick for him.” (“A Game Plan for Life” by John Wooden and Don Yaeger)

Coach Wooden modeled on a daily basis how to handle adversity to his students, coaches, family members and friends for over 70 years. He knew life would always throw obstacles in your path. He never “whined, complained, blamed or used profanity”. Coach made the best of what he had, accepted blame when things went wrong and gave the credit to others.

By following Coach Wooden’s   3 lessons for handling adversity, you too will respond well to any adversity thrown your way! © 2017 Madeline Frank

Contact Madeline Frank for your next speaking engagement at [email protected]



“Exploring the Mechanisms of Music Therapy” (March 1, 2017) by Elizabeth Stegemöller from The Scientist. “The principles of neuroplasticity may underlie the positive effects of music therapy in treating a diversity of diseases.”



“The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D. is now available in book form, and newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook:


Barnes and Noble(Nook)



“Musical Notes On Math” by Dr. Madeline Frank teaches your child fractions and decimals, the fun way, through the rhythm of music, Winner of the Parent To Parent Adding Wisdom Award is now available in book form, newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook.


Barnes and Noble(Nook)


Tips on how to use “Musical Notes On Math”


Madeline’s Midnight Melodies- Music From around the World” . This CD complements her books with a blend of dance music, gigues, tangos, ballet and favorites including “Danny Boy”, Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro”, Debussy’s “Claire De Lune” and others. “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” is music to relax by and to move by for music therapy. ”Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” CD is now available for purchase by downloading a song, downloading the album, or by CD by clicking below:

Download Your Copy Today!

Amazon | iTunes | CD Baby

Dr. Madeline Frank’s book “Leadership on a Shoestring Budget” is available through amazon.com. To order your copy of “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget”  as an e-book on Kindle click on the following link:


Wishing you and your family a happy April from Your Non-Invasive Medicine Music Expert, Madeline

For over 30 years, Dr. Madeline Frank has helped children and adults overcome problems through Classical music. Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an award winning teacher, author, researcher, speaker and concert artist. She has found a scientific link between studying and/or listening to musical instruments and academic and societal success. Madeline Frank earned her Bachelor and Master’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music. Her education has included scholarships at the Juilliard School, Indiana University, and the University of Cincinnati and she has a violin performance diploma from the North Carolina School of the Arts. (C) 2017 Madeline Frank.