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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) 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

Cellular Differences in Protein Synthesis Regulate Tissue Homeostasis.
Buszczak M, Signer RA, Morrison SJ Cell 2014 Oct 159 2 242-251
Infection Mobilizes Hematopoietic Stem Cells through Cooperative NOD-like Receptor and Toll-like Receptor Signaling.
Burberry A, Zeng MY, Ding L, Wicks I, Inohara N, Morrison SJ, Núñez G Cell Host Microbe 2014 Jun 15 6 779-91
Prospective identification of functionally distinct stem cells and neurosphere-initiating cells in adult mouse forebrain.
Mich JK, Signer RA, Nakada D, Pineda A, Burgess RJ, Vue TY, Johnson JE, Morrison SJ Elife 2014 May e02669
Metabolic regulation of stem cell function.
Burgess RJ, Agathocleous M, Morrison SJ J. Intern. Med. 2014 Apr
SLAM Family Markers Resolve Functionally Distinct Subpopulations of Hematopoietic Stem Cells and Multipotent Progenitors.
Oguro H, Ding L, Morrison SJ Cell Stem Cell 2013 Jul 13 1 102-16
Inhibition of AMPK Catabolic Action by GSK3.
Suzuki T, Bridges D, Nakada D, Skiniotis G, Morrison SJ, Lin JD, Saltiel AR, Inoki K Mol. Cell 2013 Apr
Mechanisms that Regulate Stem Cell Aging and Life Span.
Signer RA, Morrison SJ Cell Stem Cell 2013 Feb 12 2 152-65
Sox17 promotes tumor angiogenesis and destabilizes tumor vessels in mice.
Yang H, Lee S, Lee S, Kim K, Yang Y, Kim JH, Adams RH, Wells JM, Morrison SJ, Koh GY, Kim I J. Clin. Invest. 2013 Jan 123 1 418-31
A network of heterochronic genes including Imp1 regulates temporal changes in stem cell properties.
Nishino J, Kim S, Zhu Y, Zhu H, Morrison SJ Elife 2013 2 0
Human melanoma metastasis in NSG mice correlates with clinical outcome in patients.
Quintana E, Piskounova E, Shackleton M, Weinberg D, Eskiocak U, Fullen DR, Johnson TM, Morrison SJ Sci Transl Med 2012 Nov 4 159 159ra149

Honors & Awards

  • National Academy of Sciences
  • 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 (2000-2021)