Dr. Thomson is a professor in the University of California's Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, where he serves as co-director of the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering. He is Director of Regenerative Biology at the Morgridge Institute for Research and a professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Thomson graduated with a B.S. in biophysics from the University of Illinois in 1981, a doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1985, and a doctorate in molecular biology in 1988 from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1998, Dr. Thomson became the first person to derive human embryonic stem (ES) cells. In 2007, Dr. Thomson's group reported the first isolation of induced human pluripotent stem cells contemporaneously with Dr. Shinya Yamanaka. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and recent recipient of numerous awards, including the Lois Pope LIFE International Research Award, the Frank Annunzio Award, the Massry Prize, King Faisal International Prize for Medicine, and the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research.
My research 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: Examining the transcriptional networks in ES cells that mediate self-renewal and commitment to each of the basic lineages of the early embryo; mapping the epigenome of ES cells and their early-differentiated derivatives as a participant in the San Diego Epigenome Center; improving methods for generating human iPS cells, and correcting genetic defects in iPS cells generated from patients with degenerative retinal disease; developing new strategies to convert human pluripotent stem and somatic cells into hematopoietic, vascular, and cardiac progenitor cells; and understanding clocking mechanisms that control developmental rates.
Howden SE, Gore A, Li Zhe, Fung H, Nisler BS, Nie J, Chen G, McIntosh BE, Gulbranson DR, Diol NR, Taapken SM, Vereide DT, Montgomery KD, Zhang K, Gamm D, Thomson JA. Genetic correction and analysis of induced pluripotent stem cells from a patient with gyrate atrophy. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, Epub 4 Apr (2011).
Chen G, Gulbranson D, Hou Z, Bolin J, Probasco MD, Smuga-Otto K, Howden S, Diol N, Propson NE, Wagner R, Lee GO, Antosiewicz-Bourget J, Teng JMC, Thomson JA. Chemically defined conditions for human iPS cell derivation and culture. Nature Methods (2011): 8(5):424-9.
Yu P, Pan G, Yu J, Thomson JA. FGF2 sustains NANOG and switches BMP4 induced human ES cell differentiation from trophoblast to mesendoderm. Cell Stem Cell (2011): 8(6): 326-334.
Gore A, Li Z, Fung H, Young J, Agarwal S, Antosiewicz-Bourget J, Canto I, Israel M, Kiskinis E, Lee J, Loh Y, Manos PD, Montserrat N, Wilbert M, Yu J, Kirkness E, Izpisua Belmonte JC, Rossi DJ, Thomson JA, Eggan K, Daley GQ, Goldstein LSB, Zhang K. Somatic coding mutations in human induced pluripotent stem cells. Nature (2011). 471(7336): 63-7.
Lister R, Pelizzola M, Kida YS, Hawkins RD, Nery JR, Hon G, Antosiewicz-Bourget J, O'Malley R, Castanon R, Downes M, Yu R, Stewart R, Ren B, Thomson JA, Evans RM,Ecker JR. Hotspots of aberrant epigenomic reprogramming in human iPS cells.Nature, (2011): 471(7336): 68-73.
Lister R, Pelizzola M, Dowen R, Hawkins RD, Hon G, Tonti-Filippini J, Nery J, Lee L, Ye Z, Ngo Q, Edsall L, Antosiewicz-Bourget J, Stewart R, Ruotti V, Millar AH, Thomson JA, Ren B, Ecker J. "Human DNA methylomes at base resolution show widespread epigenomic differences." Nature. 2009 Nov 11; 462, 315-322.
Heintzman ND, Hon GC, Hawkins RD, Kheradpour P, Stark A, Stuart RK, Harp LF, Ye Z, Ching KA, Ching CW, Antosiewicz-Bourget JA, Liu J, Zhang X, Green RD, Stewart R, Thomson JA, Crawford GE, Kellis M, Ren B. "Histone Modifications at Human Enhancers Reflect Global Cell-Type-Specific Gene Expression." Nature. 2009 May 7;459:108-112.
Ebert AD, Yu J, Rose FF, Mattis VB, Lorson CL, Thomson JA, Svendsen CN. "Induced pluripotent stem cells from a spinal muscular atrophy patient." Nature. 2009 Jan 15;457(7227):277-80. Epub 2008 Dec 21.
Yu J, Hu K, Smuga-Otto K, Tian S, Stewart R, Slukin II, Thomson JA. "Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Free of Vector and Transgene Sequences." Science. 2009 May 8;324:797-801.
Yu J, Vodyanik M, Smuga-Otto K, Frane J, Antosiewicz-Bourget J, Frane J, Tian S, Nie J, Jonsdottir GA, Ruotti V, Stewart R, Slukvin II, Thomson JA. "Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Lines Derived from Human Somatic Cells." Science 318 (2007):1917-1920.