HSCI Milestones

April 2004 The Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) is co-founded by Doug Melton, PhD, and David Scadden, MD. HSCI begins with 7 Harvard schools, 7 teaching hospitals, 25 principal investigators, and nearly 100 scientists.
August 2005 HSCI scientists Chad Cowan, PhD, Doug Melton, PhD, and Kevin Eggan, PhD, fuse adult skin cells with embryonic stem cells to reset adult cells to an embryonic form.
January 2007 HSCI opens therapeutic screening center under Lee Rubin, PhD, to use cells as in vitro models for drug discovery.
April 2007 The Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB) is approved, bringing together researchers from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Medical School. It is the first academic department in Harvard’s 371-year history to be based in more than one of the University’s schools.
April 2007 Kevin Eggan’s lab develops the first mouse stem cell lines carrying human genes for ALS—also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, making it possible to study in vitro treatments.
April 2007 Leonard Zon's lab identifies a hormone in zebrafish that expands blood stem cell numbers--this will lead to a clinical trial about four years later.
November 2007 Konrad Hochedlinger, PhD, leads one of three research groups that independently used four genes to transform adult cells into cells with embryonic-like properties.
July 2008 Amy Wagers' lab uses transplanted muscle stem cells to treat muscular dystrophy in mice.
July 2008 Kevin Eggan, PhD, creates the first patient-specific cells from iPS cells; marking the first time scientists ever produced a human stem cell line from adult patients with a genetic disease (ALS).
August 2008 HSCI scientists George Daley, PhD, Chad Cowan, PhD, and Konrad Hochedlinger, PhD, create 20 disease-specific stem cell lines, providing valuable tools for understanding the root causes and development of diseases such as Parkinson’s, type-1 diabetes and Huntington’s.
August 2008 Doug Melton and colleagues bypass stem cells altogether and transform a type of adult mouse pancreatic cell that does not produce insulin into one that does.
September 2008 HSCI launches Stembook, an online-only resource providing the research community with a frequently updated textbook of stem cell science.
October 2008 Doug Melton's team makes human iPS cells using a chemical cocktail in place of two cancer-causing genes.
December 2008 Kevin Eggan’s lab derives spinal motor neurons from human embryonic stem cells and uses them to replicate the ALS disease process in a laboratory dish.
February 2009 Doug Melton's work in diabetes and HSCI are primary focus of cover story in TIME magazine.
March 2009 David Scadden, MD, and colleagues identify mechanism that directs blood stem cells to their destination in the body.
June 2009 HSCI establishes iPS Core at Massachusetts General Hospital, providing cells for entire Harvard stem cell community. The facility later moves to the Harvard campus.
January 2010 Amy Wagers, PhD, and her team find factor in blood of young mice that makes blood stem cells in old mice start to act like those in young mice.
September 2010 Derrick Rossi, PhD, and colleagues identify a safer way to make iPS cells using modified messenger RNA, which enables a new way to deliver therapeutics.
November 2010 John Rinn, PhD, identifies new genetic elements involved in cellular reprogramming.
March 2011 Leonard Zon, MD, finds drug target for melanoma tumors using zebrafish screen.
April 2011 Richard Lee's lab discovers that selected stem cells in the bone marrow are capable of stimulating cardiac progenitor cells already present in the heart to repair damaged tissue.
August 2011 Kevin Eggan, PhD, and his team create induced motor neurons, which can be used to study the development of ALS and spinal muscular atrophy.
November 2011 Jeffrey Macklis's lab shows how neuronal transplants can repair brain circuitry and normalize function in mice with a brain disorder.
January 2012 Evotec and HSCI launch "CureNephron" initiative to find novel therapeutic targets for kidney disease.
April 2012 Jayaraj Rajagopal, MD, and colleagues grow lung surface tissue from stem cells, a major step toward finding a treatment for cystic fibrosis.
July 2012 Janssen Pharmaceuticals enters into Evotec-HSCI "CureBeta" partnership to develop and test diabetes drug targets.
December 2012 Biogen Idec selects Lee Rubin, PhD, for multi-center consortium that aims to identify treatments for ALS.
January 2013 Paola Arlotta, PhD, and her team discover the possibility of turning one type of differentiated neuron directly into another in vivo.
January 2013 Albert Edge's lab demonstrates that cells lost to noise trauma can be regenerated in the mammalian ear.
March 2013 Yu-Hua Tseng, PhD, and colleagues discover the mechanism that regulates the production of energy-burning brown fat.
March 2013 AstraZeneca invests $240M in Moderna Therapeutics, a startup company founded by Derrick Rossi, PhD, that began with an HSCI seed grant.
April 2013 Harald Ott, MD, transplants functional lab-grown kidneys into rats. When transplanted, these organs made from decellularized scaffolds start filtering the rodents' blood and making urine.
April 2013 Benjamin Humphreys, MD, PhD, and two lab members are the grand prize winner of the first Deans’ Health and Life Sciences Challenge for their business plan for MatriTarg Laboratories, which aims to help fibrosis-related diseases.
April 2013 Lee Rubin, PhD, and colleagues use a stem cell-based drug screening technology to identify a compound that is more effective in protecting the neurons killed in ALS than are two drugs that failed in human clinical trials
May 2013 Amy Wagers, PhD, and Richard Lee, MD, identify a protein in the blood of mice and humans that may prove to be the first effective treatment for age-related heart failure.
October 2013 Leonard Zon, MD, and colleagues publish initial results of a Phase 1b human clinical trial of a therapeutic that enhances engraftment of stem cells of umbilical cord blood for adult transplantation and was licensed to Fate Therapeutics.
April 2014 A collaboration between Kevin Eggan, PhD, and Clifford Woolf, MD, PhD, finds that iPS cell-derived motor neurons from ALS patients point to a common problem among different forms of the disease. An FDA approved epilepsy drug addresses the problem in a dish, leading directly to clinical trials.
May 2014 In two complementary papers, Amy Wagers, PhD, and Lee Rubin, PhD, show that the protein GDF11, found in both mice and humans, reverses signs of aging in the mouse brain and muscles.