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Faculty: James A. Thomson, VMD, PhD

Dept: Professor, Cell & Regenerative Biology
Director of Regenerative Biology
Contact: Morgridge Institute for Research
330 N. Orchard
Training Areas:
  • Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology Program
  • Endocrine & Reproductive Physiology Program
Lab Website: Regenerative Biology
Lab Members Home Page

Research Interests

In the early 1990s, my lab derived ES cells from an Old World monkey (the rhesus macaque) and a New World monkey (the common marmoset), work that led to derivation of human ES cells in 1998.  Much of my lab’s research after that derivation was dedicated to establishing human ES cells as an accepted, practical model system. To that end, we developed defined culture conditions, methods for genetic manipulation, and approaches for the in vitro differentiation of human ES cells to key lineages of clinical importance including hematopoietic, neural, cardiac, and placental tissues.  More recently, in 2007, my laboratory described the isolation of human induced pluripotent (iPS cells) cells with the basic properties of human ES cells but derived from somatic cells. 

My research now focuses on understanding how a cell can maintain or change identity, how a cell chooses between self-renewal and the initial decision to differentiate, and how a differentiated cell with limited developmental potential can be reprogrammed to a pluripotent cell.

My current research interests include:

Honors & Awards

Other Positions & Affiliations


Recent Publications (Find recent publications on PubMed)

  • Jiang P, Hou Z, Propson NE, Soh HT, Thomson JA, and Stewart, R (2014). “MPBind: A Meta-Motif Based Statistical Framework and Pipeline to Predict Binding Potential of SELEX-derived Aptamers.” Bioinformatics, in press.
  • Hou Z, Zhang Y, Propson NE, Howden SE, Chu L, Sontheimer EJ, and Thomson JA (2013). “Efficient Genome Engineering in Human Pluripotent Stem Cells Using Cas9 from Neisseria meningitides.” Proc Natl Acad Sci, USA, 110: 15644-15649 PMCID: PMC3785731.
  • Cho M, Oh SS, Nie J, Stewart R, Eisenstein MS, Chambers J, Marth J, Walker F, Thomson JA, and Soh H (2013). “Quantitative Selection and Parallel Characterization of Aptamers.” Proc Natl Acad Sci, USA, 110: 18460-18465. PMCID: PMC3831996.
  • Phillips MJ, Perez ET, Martin JM, Reshel ST, Wallace KA, Capowski EE, Singh R, Wright LS, Clark EM, Barney PM, Stewart R, Dickerson SJ, Miller MJ, Percin EF, Thomson JA, Gamm DM. “Modeling human retinal development with patient-specific iPS cells reveals multiple roles for VSX2.” Stem Cells. 2014 Feb 15. PMID: 24532057.
  • Magli A, Schnettler E, Swanson SA, Borges L, Hoffman K, Stewart R, Thomson JA, Keirstead SA, and Perlingeiro RC (2014). “Pax3 and Tbx5 specify whether PDGFRα+ cells assume skeletal or cardiac muscle fate in differentiating ES cells.” Stem Cells, PMID: 24677751.