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Haifan Lin

Yale University

Eugene Higgins Chair Professor of Cell Biology and Founding Director of Yale Stem Cell Center, Professor of Genetics, of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, and of Dermatology; Founding Dean, School of Life Science and Technology, ShanghaiTech University. 

Dr. Lin studies the self-renewing mechanism of stem cells, using Drosophila germline stem cells, mouse germline, embryonic, and neural stem cells, as well as Hydra and planarian stem cells as models.  He also works on stem cell-related cancers and germline development.  Dr. Lin received his BS degree from Fudan University, PhD degree from Cornell University, and postdoctoral training at the Carnegie Institution for Science. He joined the faculty of Duke University Medical School in 1994, where he rose to Full Professor. He founded and directed the Duke Stem Cell Research Program, and moved to Yale in 2006 to establish and direct Yale Stem Cell Center. He has also been building School of Life Science and Technology at ShanghaiTech University (2014-). Dr. Lin has made key contributions to the demonstration of stem cell asymmetric division and the proof of the stem cell niche theory. He discovered the Argonuate/Piwi gene family and their essential function in stem cell self-renewal and germline development. He is also a discoverer of PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs), a discovery hailed by Science as one of the 10 Breakthroughs in 2006. Recently, he demonstrated the crucial roles of the Piwi-piRNA pathway in epigenetic programming and in post-transcriptional regulation of mRNA and lncRNA.

Dr. Lin has been serving various leadership roles in the International Society for Stem Cell Research, the greater scientific community, and beyond. He received over 30 awards in his career. He is a Member of US National Academy of Sciences, a Member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science.