U-M Center for Stem Cell Biology

Illuminating the fundamentals of stem cells

The mission of the U-M Center for Stem Cell Biology is to promote the use of stem cell research to answer the most fundamental questions in cellular, developmental and cancer biology. The center has three primary faculty members: Cheng-Yu Lee, Ivan Maillard and Yukiko Yamashita.Divide and Define: The apical tip of fruitfly testis containing germline stem cells and differentiating germ cells. Copies of Y chromosome are marked with either red or blue. Using this method, researchers in the Yamashita lab discovered that germline stem cells inherit specific copies of Y (and X) chromosomes.

The Yamashita lab is studying the mechanisms that regulate the division of germline stem cells and the role these mechanisms play in tissue regeneration and aging.

The Lee lab is studying the mechanism by which stem cells self-renew or differentiate, specifically as it relates to brain tumors and other cancers.

The Maillard lab is studying ways to improve allogenic bone marrow transplants, a powerful treatment for some cancers, by making them safer and more available to patients.


The U-M Center for Stem Cell Biology was established in 2005 with $10.5 million provided by the U-M Medical School, the Life Sciences Institute and the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute. The center is housed in the Life Sciences Institute to leverage LSI’s multi-disciplinary environment and to ground stem cell research in the context of basic scientific inquiry. Noted stem cell scientist Sean Morrison served as director of the center until 2010. Under Morrison’s leadership, the center took a leadership role in educating the Michigan public about stem cell research during the successful 2008 ballot initiative to repeal the state ban on human embryonic stem cell research.


Understanding the fundamental biology of stem cells increases the potential for advances in biomedical research and medicine, and the center supports stem cell research by bringing scientists from different disciplines together to focus on important questions in this rapidly changing area of science.


The U-M Center for Stem Cell Biology is part of a rich network of programs and faculty at the University of Michigan focused on stem cell research:

  • The UM Consortium for Stem Cell Therapy (CSCT) is a core facility with research tools available to faculty across campus. The CSCT is responsible for the derivation, storage and distribution of new induced pluripotent stem cells and human embryonic stem cells. Researchers have derived and registered several disease-affected embryonic stem cell lines.
  • The Michigan Center for hES Research provides training and technologies in human embryonic stem cell biology. It is funded by an NIH Exploratory Center Grant for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research.
  • U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of only a few research institutions in the U.S. and Canada that has made an institutional commitment to cancer stem cell research. 
  • Stem cells are essential research tools in drug discovery efforts like those in LSI’s Center for Chemical Genomics and the Center for the Discovery of New Medicines, also housed in LSI.

More information on stem cell research across campus can be found at: http://www.stemcellresearch.umich.edu/.