The Stem Cell Biology Program

In the Stem Cell Biology Program, investigators are studying the natural life cycle of human embryonic stem cells. They use induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to understand disorders of blood-making organs, known as the hematopoietic system. Our scientists are using stem cells to study the development of pain and muscle disorders, trying to re-create pain nerve cells and muscle tissue in the lab to identify potential new drug candidates. Scientists leading other projects are working to generate laboratory-made blood cells that could circulate in the body, delivering drug therapy without forming tumors. They are also seeking to understand the role of immune cells in the brain and trying to develop a “mini-brain” in the lab to serve as a disease model to study neurodegeneration.


  • Valina L. Dawson, Ph.D.

    • Director, Neuroregeneration and Stem Cell Programs, Institute for Cell Engineering,
    • Professor of Neurology
    • Professor of Neuroscience
    • Professor of Physiology
  • Gabsang Lee, Ph.D.

    • Professor of Neurology
    • Professor of Neuroscience

    Expertise: Muscular Dystrophies, Peripheral Nerve Disorders

  • Jinchong Xu, Ph.D.

    • Director, Human iPS Cell Core for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Johns Hopkins Alzheimer's Disease Research Center
    • Assistant Professor of Neurology
  • Elias Thomas Zambidis, M.D., Ph.D.

    • Professor of Oncology
    • Professor of Pediatrics

    Expertise: Bone Marrow Failure, Bone Marrow Transplant, General Pediatrics, Haploidentical Bone Marrow Transplant, Histiocytosis