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Sean J. Morrison is the director of the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute (CRI) 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), a MERIT Award from the National Institute on Aging (2009), and was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (2018). 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

Transient Notch activation initiates an irreversible switch from neurogenesis to gliogenesis by neural crest stem cells.
Morrison SJ, Perez SE, Qiao Z, Verdi JM, Hicks C, Weinmaster G, Anderson DJ Cell 2000 May 101 5
In vivo proliferation and cell cycle kinetics of long-term self-renewing hematopoietic stem cells.
Cheshier SH, Morrison SJ, Liao X, Weissman IL Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 1999 Mar 96 6
Prospective identification, isolation by flow cytometry, and in vivo self-renewal of multipotent mammalian neural crest stem cells.
Morrison SJ, White PM, Zock C, Anderson DJ Cell 1999 Mar 96 5
Hematopoietic stem cells and lymphoid progenitors express different Ikaros isoforms, and Ikaros is localized to heterochromatin in immature lymphocytes.
Klug CA, Morrison SJ, Masek M, Hahm K, Smale ST, Weissman IL Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 1998 Jan 95 2
From stem cells to lymphocytes: biology and transplantation.
Aguila HL, Akashi K, Domen J, Gandy KL, Lagasse E, Mebius RE, Morrison SJ, Shizuru J, Strober S, Uchida N, Wright DE, Weissman IL Immunol. Rev. 1997 Jun 157
Identification of a lineage of multipotent hematopoietic progenitors.
Morrison SJ, Wandycz AM, Hemmati HD, Wright DE, Weissman IL Development 1997 May 124 10
Hematopoietic stem cells: challenges to expectations.
Morrison SJ, Wright DE, Cheshier SH, Weissman IL Curr. Opin. Immunol. 1997 Apr 9 2
Cyclophosphamide/granulocyte colony-stimulating factor induces hematopoietic stem cells to proliferate prior to mobilization.
Morrison SJ, Wright DE, Weissman IL Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 1997 Mar 94 5
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

Honors & Awards

  • National Academy of Medicine
  • President, International Society for Stem Cell 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

Professional Associations/Affiliations

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