Download Curriculum Vitae

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

A genetic determinant that specifically regulates the frequency of hematopoietic stem cells.
Morrison SJ, Qian D, Jerabek L, Thiel BA, Park IK, Ford PS, Kiel MJ, Schork NJ, Weissman IL, Clarke MF J. Immunol. 2002 Jan 168 2
Pten-uating neural growth.
Morrison SJ Nat. Med. 2002 Jan 8 1
The purification of mouse hematopoietic stem cells at sequential stages of maturation.
Morrison SJ Methods Mol. Med. 2002 63
Neuronal potential and lineage determination by neural stem cells.
Morrison SJ Curr. Opin. Cell Biol. 2001 Dec 13 6
Stem cells, cancer, and cancer stem cells.
Reya T, Morrison SJ, Clarke MF, Weissman IL Nature 2001 Nov 414 6859
Neuronal differentiation: proneural genes inhibit gliogenesis.
Morrison SJ Curr. Biol. 2001 May 11 9
Stem cell potential: can anything make anything?
Morrison SJ Curr. Biol. 2001 Jan 11 1
Neural crest stem cells undergo cell-intrinsic developmental changes in sensitivity to instructive differentiation signals.
White PM, Morrison SJ, Orimoto K, Kubu CJ, Verdi JM, Anderson DJ Neuron 2001 Jan 29 1
The last shall not be first: the ordered generation of progeny from stem cells.
Morrison SJ Neuron 2000 Oct 28 1
Culture in reduced levels of oxygen promotes clonogenic sympathoadrenal differentiation by isolated neural crest stem cells.
Morrison SJ, Csete M, Groves AK, Melega W, Wold B, Anderson DJ J. Neurosci. 2000 Oct 20 19

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)