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Sean J. Morrison is the director of the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. He holds the Mary McDermott Cook Chair in Pediatric Genetics and the Kathryne and Gene Bishop Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Research. Dr. Morrison completed a B.Sc. in biology and chemistry at Dalhousie University (1991), a Ph.D. in immunology at Stanford University (1996), and a 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.

Among other awards, Dr. Morrison received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2003) and a MERIT Award from the National Institute on Aging (2009). He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (2018) and the National Academy of Sciences (2020). Dr. Morrison served as the President of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (2015-2016) and has been active in public policy issues surrounding stem cell research, testifying before the U.S. Congress, and serving as 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
  • Skeletal stem cells and osteogenesis
  • Stem cell aging
  • Stem cell niche
  • Stem cell self-renewal


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Regulatory mechanisms in stem cell biology.
Morrison SJ, Shah NM, Anderson DJ Cell 1997 Feb 88 3
Telomerase activity in hematopoietic cells is associated with self-renewal potential.
Morrison SJ, Prowse KR, Ho P, Weissman IL Immunity 1996 Sep 5 3
The aging of hematopoietic stem cells.
Morrison SJ, Wandycz AM, Akashi K, Globerson A, Weissman IL Nat. Med. 1996 Sep 2 9
The purification and characterization of fetal liver hematopoietic stem cells.
Morrison SJ, Hemmati HD, Wandycz AM, Weissman IL Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 1995 Oct 92 22
Heterogeneity of hematopoietic stem cells: implications for clinical applications.
Morrison SJ, Weissman IL Proc. Assoc. Am. Physicians 1995 Jul 107 2
The biology of hematopoietic stem cells.
Morrison SJ, Uchida N, Weissman IL Annu. Rev. Cell Dev. Biol. 1995 11
The long-term repopulating subset of hematopoietic stem cells is deterministic and isolatable by phenotype.
Morrison SJ, Weissman IL Immunity 1994 Nov 1 8
Demonstration that Thy(lo) subsets of mouse bone marrow that express high levels of lineage markers are not significant hematopoietic progenitors.
Morrison SJ, Lagasse E, Weissman IL Blood 1994 Jun 83 12

Honors & Awards

  • Award for Excellence in Postdoctoral Mentoring from the Postdoctoral Association at UTSW
  • National Academy of Sciences
  • National Academy of Medicine
  • MERIT Award, National Institute on Aging
  • Harland Winfield Mossman Award, American Association of Anatomists
  • McCulloch and Till Award, International Society for Hematology & Stem Cells

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • National Academy of Sciences (2020)
  • National Academy of Medicine (2018)
  • President, International Society for Stem Cell Research (2015-2016)
  • Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (2000)