Skin Program

HSCI scientist recognized for outstanding dermatology research

May 26, 2020

HSCI scientist Ya-Chieh Hsu, Ph.D. is the recipient of the 2020 LEO Foundation Award. The award recognizes extraordinary contributions to dermatology research that advance our understanding of skin diseases, and have the potential to pave the way for new and improved treatments.

Hsu is the Alvin and Esta Star Associate Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology. She studies how communication among different cell...

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Call for Proposals: HSCI Skin Program 2020 Incubator Awards

March 23, 2020

Award amount

$50,000 per project per year for one year

Posted Date

Monday, February 10, 2020 | Updated March 23, 2020

Deadline for application

Friday, May 1, 2020

Anticipated award date

Tuesday, September 1, 2020* (*disbursement of funds may be delayed by COVID-19-related disruptions)


The mission of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute is to find cures for human diseases. Through collaborative research in the fields of stem cell and regenerative biology, we seek to:

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Restoring vision

November 26, 2019

A stem cell therapy for cornea regeneration reaches the clinical-trial stage


By Jessica Lau

As the eye’s outer layer of protection, the cornea needs to constantly regenerate to maintain a clear surface. Losing the cornea-regenerating stem cells leads to cloudiness — like trying to see...

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Healing without scars

November 7, 2018

George Murphy wants to use stem cells to replace scarring with regenerative healing.

  • George Murphy’s goal is to coax skin stem cells into healing wounds by regenerating tissue instead of forming a scar.
  • To figure out how to do it, he is studying scarless healing during fetal development and “stem cell burnout” during aging.
  • Insights into scarless healing will help research into regenerating other vital organs, including the heart.


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Can we restore sight?

November 7, 2018

Markus Frank and his colleagues are reprogramming skin cells with the goal of giving people back their sight.

  • Seed funding from HSCI led Markus Frank and his colleagues to discover that the cell surface molecule ABCB5 can be used to identify limbal stem cells, which regenerate the cornea.
  • The team is developing ABCB5-positive cell therapy as a treatment for vision loss due to limbal stem cell deficiency.

Markus Frank, M.D., co-leader of the HSCI Skin Program, is reprogramming stem cells from the skin...

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