James A. Thomson, VMD, PHD

Position title: Director, Regenerative Biology, Morgridge Institute for Research; Professor, Cell and Regenerative Biology

Email: jthomson@morgridge.org

Phone: 608-316-4348

James Thomson headshot


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Dr. Thomson is the Director of Regenerative Biology, Morgridge Institute for Research / Professor of Cell and Regenerative Biology (UW) / Professor, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology – University of California, Santa Barbara

Research Description:

In the early 1990s, my lab derived ES cells from an Old World monkey (the rhesus macaque) and a New World monkey (the common marmoset), work that led to derivation of human ES cells in 1998. Much of my lab’s research after that derivation was dedicated to establishing human ES cells as an accepted, practical model system. To that end, we developed defined culture conditions, methods for genetic manipulation, and approaches for the in vitro differentiation of human ES cells to key lineages of clinical importance including hematopoietic, neural, cardiac, and placental tissues., In 2007, my laboratory described the isolation of human induced pluripotent (iPS cells) cells with the basic properties of human ES cells but derived from somatic cells.

My current research interests include:

  • Understanding clocking mechanisms that control developmental rates.
  • Studying differentiation of vascular progenitors for transplantation therapies
  • Examining the transcriptional networks in ES cells that mediate self-renewal and commitment to each of the basic lineages of the early embryo.
  • Developing new strategies to convert human pluripotent stem and somatic cells into hematopoietic, vascular, and cardiac progenitor cells.
Selected References:
  • Slukvin I, Uenishi G, Jung HS, Kumar A, Park MA, Hadland BK, McLeod E, Raymond M, Moskvin O, Swanson S, Tamplin OJ, Zon LI, Thomson JA, Berstein I. “NOTCH signaling specifies arterial-type definitive hemogenic endothelium from human pluripotent stem cells.” Nature Comm. Accepted (2018).
  • Howden SE, Thomson JA, Little MH. “Simultaneous reprogramming and gene editing of human fibroblasts.” Nat Protoc. 2018 May;13(5):875-898. Epub 2018 Apr 5. PMID: 29622803.
  • Brown ME, Zhou Y, McIntosh B, Norman IG, Lou HE, Biermann M, Sullivan JA, Kamp TJ, Thomson JA, Anagnostopoulos PV, Burlingham WJ. “A humanized mouse model generated using surplus neonatal tissue.” Stem Cell Reports. 2018 Apr 10p;10(4):1175-1183. Epub 2018 Mar 22. PMID: 29576539.
  • Zhang J, Schwartz MP, Hou Z, Yongsheng B, Ardalani H, Swanson S, Steill J, Ruotti V, Elwell A, Nguyen BK, Bolin J, Stewart R, Thomson JA, Murphy WL. “A genome-wide analysis of human pluripotent stem cell-derived endothelial cells in synthetic hydrogels or standard 2D and 3D culture platforms.” Stem Cell Reports. 2017 Mar 10. pii: S2213-6711(17)30081-4. PMID: 28343999.
  • Barry C, Schmitz MT, Jiang P, Schwartz MP, Duffin BM, Swanson S, Bacher R, Bolin JM, Elwell AL, McIntosh BE, Stewart R, Thomson JA. “Species-specific developmental timing is maintained by pluripotent stem cells ex utero.” Dev Biol. 2017 Feb 6. pii: S0012-1606(16)30812-0. PMID: 28179190.