Bridging bench to bedside to deliver therapies for patients

Areas of Research


Pregnancy is one our most important biological functions. Early fetal development is critical to the lifelong health of both a mother and child. Surprisingly, scientists possess only rudimentary details of how a mother, embryo, and placenta come together to maintain a healthy environment for fetal growth. We support a group of bold scientists asking:

  • Can we manage the biological clock?
  • Can we prevent preterm birth?
  • Can we bolster healthy growth of brain, lung, and other organs in preterm infants?
  • Can we treat fetal genetic conditions by intervening before birth?


Our world-renowned neuroscientists span basic and clinical departments and are applying cutting-edge technologies to study the human brain. We are focused on developmental and stem cell biology, with particular attention to brain maturation spanning from early development in utero through adolescence and into adulthood.


Research into the hematopoietic system, which consists of organs and tissues, primarily the bone marrow, spleen, tonsils, and lymph nodes involved in the production of blood, provides fundamental insights into how different cell types derive from stem cells and progenitor cells. This knowledge serves as the basis for therapeutic approaches—hematopoietic stem cell transplantation has cured countless people with bone marrow failure, leukemia, and hereditary hematologic and immune disorders. Our team aims to gain further hematopoietic insights to treat human diseases.

Cardiac & Vascular Biology

The heart cannot adequately regenerate damaged tissue after a heart attack. Could stem cells help it along that path? The main mechanism of cardiac functional improvement appears to be paracrine in nature, meaning the stem cells release specific proteins that are cardio-protective. We are currently identifying and isolating these proteins in order to develop them into novel therapies.


Epithelial tissues, such as the skin and the linings of the gastro-intestinal tract, contain stem cells that are capable of self-renewal and differentiation. At least 85% of all human cancers arise in epithelial tissues like the skin, colon, breast and prostate, and there is increasing evidence that the most malignant tumors develop from epithelial stem cell populations. We focus on therapeutic applications of stem cells for either common chronic diseases or rare but severe diseases of epithelial origin.


The entire musculoskeletal system – bone, cartilage, muscle, fat and connective tissue – develops from mesenchymal stem cells. Our researchers leverage this stem cell knowledge to explore potential redirections for differentiation, opening the door to new therapeutic approaches for repairing and regenerating tissues.


A number of injuries and diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa, can lead to irreversible vision loss. This is because the light-sensing regions of our eyes, like the retina, lack stem cells with regenerative potential. We harness the power of newer stem cell technologies to identify novel therapies for the eye.

Pancreas & Liver

Stem cell therapy could potentially provide a source of liver and pancreatic cells for patients and thus a viable cure for liver failure and diabetes. Our team is one of the few programs in the country that combines superb developmental and stem cell research with a dedicated clinical program of liver and islet transplantation, as well as the immunology efforts needed to move aggressive basic research towards potential cures.