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Sean J. Morrison is the director of the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute (CRI) at UT Southwestern, the Mary McDermott Cook Chair in Pediatric Genetics, the Kathryne and Gene Bishop Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Research, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

Dr. Morrison obtained his B.Sc. in biology and chemistry from Dalhousie University (1991), his Ph.D. in immunology at Stanford University (1996) and his postdoctoral fellowship in neurobiology at Caltech (1999). From 1999 to 2011, Dr. Morrison was a professor at the University of Michigan, where he directed their Center for Stem Cell Biology. His laboratory studies the mechanisms that regulate stem cell function in adult tissues and the ways in which those mechanisms get hijacked by cancer cells to enable tumor formation.

Dr. Morrison was a Searle Scholar (2000-2003) and received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2003), the International Society for Hematology and Stem Cell’s McCulloch and Till Award (2007), the American Association of Anatomists Harland Winfield Mossman Award (2008) and a MERIT Award from the National Institute on Aging (2009). He recently served as President of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (2015). Dr. Morrison has also been active in public policy issues surrounding stem cells. He twice testified before Congress and was a leader in the successful “Proposal 2” campaign to protect and regulate stem cell research in Michigan’s state constitution.

The Morrison laboratory studies the mechanisms that maintain stem cell function in adult tissues and the ways in which cancer cells hijack these mechanisms to enable neoplastic proliferation. A better understanding of these mechanisms offers the potential to yield new regenerative medicine and cancer therapies.

Morrison Laboratory


Dalhousie University - Canada (1991), Biology
Graduate School
Stanford University (1996)

Research Interest

  • Cancer stem cell biology
  • Melanoma cell proliferation and metastasis
  • Stem cell aging
  • Stem cell self-renewal


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Honors & Awards

  • CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research
  • MERIT Award, National Institute on Aging
  • Harland Winfield Mossman Award, American Association of Anatomists
  • McCulloch and Till Award, International Society for Hematology & Stem Cells
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, White House Office of Science and Technology

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • President, International Society for Stem Cell Research (2015-2016)
  • Senior Editor, eLife (2014)
  • Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (2000)