About the Institute

Teamwork at ICE Nucleus of a cell undergoing parthanatos Credit: Yingfei Wang and I-Hsun Wu/Johns Hopkins Medicine

Founded in 2001, the mission of the Institute for Cell Engineering at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine is to foster a multidisciplinary environment in which experts from across the Johns Hopkins University collaborate to understand the biology of stem cells, basic cell processes, and how to apply new ideas to further the field of cell engineering. The Institute supports and encourages the application and development of new cell technologies to ultimately develop cell-based therapies to treat human disease.

Our four basic research programs, Immunobiology, Neuroregeneration, Stem Cell Biology and Vascular Biology, focus on a wide range of conditions including Parkinson’s disease, ALS, diabetes, heart failure, cancer, stroke and spinal cord injury.

Researchers in the Immunobiology program have made many advances in understanding how immune cells function during immune response in hopes of developing therapies that treat immune system deficiencies, autoimmunity and cancer.

In the Neuroregeneration program, the focus is on comprehending how nerve cells develop and function and identifying and characterizing the molecules that protect against stresses that cause cell death.

Scientists in the Stem Cell Biology program have improved the methods for coaxing stem cells into desired cell types for both further study and potential therapies. The team is heavily focused on developing induced pluripotent stem cells from adult tissues to improve current technologies to bring cell therapies to clinical care.

In the Vascular Biology program, researchers have made considerable progress in understanding how blood vessels form with the goal of developing new clinical treatments for stroke and cancer.

home_ted_dawson.jpg Ted Dawson, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology and neuroscience and scientific director of ICE

From the Director

Scientists supported by the Institute for Cell Engineering work to understand how cells’ fates are determined and harness that information to select, modify and reprogram human cells. While the hallmark of ICE science continues to be basic research, our ultimate goal is to mold engineered human cells into therapies for a wide range of devastating diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), diabetes, and heart failure.

Institute for Cell Engineering investigators are recognized internationally in the fields of adult neural and embryonic stem cell biology, neuroprotection and Parkinson’s disease, hypoxia and immunobiology. They also have contributed significantly to improving induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) technology, which brings us much closer to many applications that use pluripotent stem cells derived from adult cells.

Our scientists are at the forefront of groundbreaking research, making significant strides in cellular reprogramming, stem cell therapies, gene editing, imaging, and tissue engineering. These discoveries accelerate our understanding of cell biology, immunology, vascular biology, neurodegeneration, and potential treatments for a range of diseases. We have made significant progress in translating our discoveries for various conditions, including neurodegenerative disorders and cancer, and 11 biotechnology companies have been co-founded by Institute for Cell Engineering scientists. 

Exciting advances are being made every day at the Institute for Cell Engineering. We welcome you to learn more about our research and the people behind it.

Ted Dawson
Director, Institute for Cell Engineering
Johns Hopkins Medicine


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