Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
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Marius Wernig

Academic Appointments

  • Associate Professor of Pathology and, by courtesy, of Chemical and Systems Biology

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Contact Information

  • Academic Offices
    Personal Information
    Alternate Contact
    Saki Tanabe Administrative Associate Tel Work 6-9693


Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Assistant Professor, Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (2008 - present)

Honors and Awards

  • The Outstanding Young Investigator Award, International Society for Stem Cell Research (2013)
  • Ascina Award, Republic of Austria (2010)
  • New Scholar in Aging, Ellison Medical Foundation (2010)
  • Robertson Investigator Award, New York Stem Cell Foundation (2010)
  • Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Faculty Scholarship, Stanford University (2009)
  • Cozzarelli Prize for outstanding scientific excellence, National Academy of Sciences USA (2009)
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Professional Education

M.D.: Technical University of Munich, Medicine (2000)

Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Our laboratory is generally interested in the molecular mechanisms that determine specific cell fates.

Recently, we have identified a pool of transcription factors that are sufficient to convert skin fibroblasts directly into functional neuronal cells that we termed induced neuronal (iN) cells. This was a surprising finding and indicated that direct lineage reprogramming may be applicable to many somatic cell types and many different directions. Indeed, following our work others have identified transcription factors that could induce cardiomyocytes, blood progenitors, and hepatocytes from fibroblasts.

We are now focussing on two major aspects of iN and iPS cell reprogramming:
(i) we are fascinated by the puzzle how a hand full of transcription factors can so efficiently reprogram the entire epigenome of a cell so that it changes identity. To that end we are applying genome-wide expression analysis, chromatin immunoprecipitation, protein biochemistry, proteomics and functional screens.
(ii) it is equally exciting to now use reprogramming methods as tools to study or treat certain diseases. iPS cells have the great advantage that they can easily be genetically manipulated rendering them ideal for treating monogenetic disorders when combined with cell transplantation-based therapies. In particular we are working on Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa in collaboration with Stanford's Dermatology Department. An exciting application of iN cell technology will be to try modeling neurological diseases in vitro. We perform both mouse and human experiments hoping to identify quantifiable phenotypes correlated with genotype and in a second step evaluate whether this assay could be used to discover novel drugs improve the disease progression.






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