Stem Cell Biology Training Grant

The Stem Cell Biology Training Grant provides support for pre-doctoral training in stem cell biology, clinical applications of stem cells and the ethical issues related to stem cell research.

The goal of the training program is to provide pre-doctoral trainees with the essential tools to enable successful careers. To accomplish this goal, the program provides coursework and hands-on training that will train students to make advancements in the basic biological study of stem cells and to develop new stem cell-based clinical therapies. Training mentors conduct a specialized program designed for the unique needs of stem cell research-focused trainees in Responsible Conduct of Research.

Interdisciplinary in scope, the training program brings together highly qualified faculty from within the Stem Cell Institute, a state-of-the-art biomedical research environment that is ideally suited for training young research scientists, as well as other investigators at the university with complementary expertise.

Trainees in this program are required to complete graduate-level courses in stem cell biology, engage in a mentored research project, and participate in educational activities offered by the Stem Cell Institute.

Read below for a full list of training faculty as well as program contact information. 

Research programs and training faculty

The Stem Cell Biology Training Grant research at the University of Minnesota brings together top faculty researchers from six primary departments:

  • Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics (MCDB&G)
  • Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology (MICaB)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Neuroscience
  • Integrative Biology and Physiology
  • Medicine

The interdisciplinary nature of the program encourages cross development of research across biomedical science and engineering. Opportunities involve a full specturm of work on animal and human models utilizing both pluripotent stem cells as well as adult/tissue-specific stem cells.

Each faculty member is listed under his/her primary department, however many of them hold appointments in multiple departments and make significant contributions to more than one area of research.

Molecular, Cellular Developmental Biology and Genetics (MCDB&G)

  • David Greenstein, PhD: Development genetics, germline development, and cell signaling.
  • Yasuhiko Kawakami, PhD: Molecular and genetic mechanisms regulating organogenesis during embryonic development.
  • David Largaespada, PhD: Mouse ES cells used for studies of cancer genetics. Identify cancer genes using mouse models and gene discovery by insertional mutagenesis.
  • Scott McIvor, PhD: Viral and transposon mediated gene transfer in hematopoietic and other stem cells for therapeutic gene therapy.
  • Hiroshi Nakato, PhD: Stem cell behavior, proteoglycan functions, and growth factor signaling.
  • Jeffrey Simon, PhD: Chromatin biology, epigenetics, developmental mechanisms.
  • David Zarkower, PhD: Understanding of the molecular basis of sex determination, sexual differentiation, and sex maintenance. Role of DMRT1 in control of these processes and of spermatogenesis. Evolution of sex determination. Molecular and genetic basis of testicular germ cell cancer.

Microbiology, Immunology, And Cancer Biology (MICaB)

  • Bruce Blazar, MD: Hematopoietic stem cells and prevention of GVHD in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
  • Kristin Hogquist, PhD: T lymphocyte development from hematopoietic stem cell precursors.
  • Nobuaki Kikyo, MD, PhD: Understand the molecular mechanism of nuclear reprogramming in the context of somatic cell nuclear cloning and define regulatory network of transcription factors that maintain pluripotency.
  • Michael Kyba, PhD: Mechanisms of self-renewal and differentiation of stem cells with focus on blood and skeletal muscle differentiation.
  • Jeff Miller, MD: Studies hematopoiesis and immune system cell development with expertise in clinical translation of hematopoietic stem cells for novel immunotherapies. 
  • Jaime Modiano, VMD, PhD: Animal models of cancer stem cells and therapies.
  • Rita Perlingeiro, PhD: Pluripotent stem cells in neuromuscular disorders: potential for regenerative medicine and disease modeling.
  • Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD: Improving the safety and effectiveness of treatments using stem cell biology in regenerative medicine.

Biomedical Engineering

  • Wei-Shou Hu, PhD: Systems analysis of stem cells and regulation of stem cell differentiation.
  • Brenda Ogle, PhD: Stem cell differentiation, especially in the context of the cardiovascular system.


  • Atsushi Asakura, PhD: Muscle stem cell and muscular dystrophy.
  • Walter Low, PhD: Combined cell and gene therapies for the treatment of neurological disorders.
  • Yasushi Nakagawa, MD, PhD: Neural stem/progenitor cells specification into formation of thalamic nuclei and molecular/ cellular mechanisms that control the developmental fate and plasticity of neural stem/progenitor cells.

Integrative biology and physiology

  • Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari, PhD: Tissue engineering of lung for transplant using iPS and other patient-derived cells, using MSCs and lung stem cells for cell therapy for lung disease.


Program contacts

Rita Perlingeiro PhD