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Haifan Lin, PhD

Eugene Higgins Professor of Cell Biology, and Professor of Genetics and of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences; Director, Yale Stem Cell Center

Contact Information

Haifan Lin, PhD

Mailing Address

  • Stem Cell Center, Yale

    PO Box 208073, 10 Amistad St.

    New Haven, CT, 06520-8073

    United States

Haifan Lin
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Appointments

Biography

The Eugene Higgins Professor of Cell Biology, Professor of Genetics, of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, and of Dermatology, Founding Director of Yale Stem Cell Center. Dr. Lin’s work is focused on the self-renewing mechanism of stem cells, using Drosophila germline stem cells, mouse germline stem cells, mouse  embryonic stem cells, Hydra, and planarian stem cells as models.  He also studies germline development and stem cell-related cancers. 

 Dr. Lin received his B.S. degree from Fudan University (1982), and his Ph.D. degree from Cornell University (1990). Following his postdoctoral research at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, he joined the faculty of Duke University Medical School in 1994, where he rose to the rank of Full Professor.  He founded and directed the Duke Stem Cell Research Program (2005-2006), and moved to Yale in 2006 to establish and direct the Yale Stem Cell Center, building it from just two labs in 2006 to currently one of the largest stem cell research organizations in the world with 97 member labs.  In 2014, with Yale's support, he became the Founding Dean (Adjunct) of School of Life Science and Technology at ShanghaiTech University in China, and has rapidly established a world-class faculty and educational programs in the School.

 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 Argonaute/Piwi gene family and elucidated their essential function in stem cell self-renewal and germline development. He is also a discoverer of a novel class of non-coding small RNAs called PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs), a discovery hailed by the Science Magazine as one of the Ten Scientific Breakthroughs in 2006.  More recently, he proposed and demonstrated the crucial roles of the Piwi-piRNA pathway in epigenetic programming and in post-transcriptional regulation of mRNA and lncRNA.

Dr. Lin has provided numerous services to the scientific community and beyond. His past services included the Treasurer and Member of Executive committee of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR, 2013-2016), Chair of the ISSCR Finance Committee (2013-2016), of the ISSCR Publications Committee (2009-2012), and of the 2011 Annual Meeting Program Committee (2010-2011).  He also served on other ISSCR committees, the NIH study sections (1998-2005, 2007, 2012, 2014), the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award Selection Committee (2009), the External Advisory Board of the Progenitor Cell Biology Consortium, NHLBI, NIH (2010-2012), the Board of Directors of the Society of Chinese Biological Investigators (2002-2008), the Council of the Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America (2008-2011), the Council of Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (2013-2016), the Advisory Council of RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, Japan (2007-2015), the Scientific Advisory Board of the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research (2011-2015), National Key Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee, Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (2011-2014), and the Council of Shantou University (2010-2015).  He was a co-founder and Core Member of the Connecticut State Government Life Sciences Advisory Group (2011-2012).

Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors of the ISSCR (2009-), the Medical Advisory Board of New York Stem Cell Foundation (2009-), the NIH CMIR Study section (2019-), and is a Visiting Chair Professor of Tsinghua University (2002-).

Dr. Lin has served on Editorial Boards of Stem Cells (2005-2008), Biology of Reproduction (2009-2010), Journal of Cell Biology (2009-2014), Current Opinion in Cell Biology (2009-2014), Cell Research (2010-), Cell Stem Cells (2007-), StemBook (2007-), Stem Cell Reports (2013-), National Science Review (2013-), and Science China (2013-).  He was a Featured Editor of Nature Reports Stem Cells (2009), and led the establishment of the ISSCR journal Stem Cell Reports (2010-2012).

 Dr. Lin received many awards and honors, including the Jane Coffin Childs Fellowship for Medical Research (1990), American Cancer Society Junior Faculty Research Award (1996), the March of Dimes Basil O'Connor Scholar Research Award (1996), the David and Lucile Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering (1996), the G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Award (2007, 2011, 2015), the American Society of Andrology Lecturer Award (2008), the Laura Hartenbaum Breast Cancer Foundation’s Legacy for Hope Award (2009), the Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar Award (2010), the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award (2010), the NIH MERIT Award (2012), the Ray Wu Award (the highest honor by the Chinese Biological Investigators Society; 2013), and the Society for the Study of Reproduction Research Award (2015). He is a Member of US National Academy of Sciences (2018-), a Member of American academy of Arts and Sciences (2018-), and an Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2010-).

Education & Training

  • PhD
    Cornell University (1990)
  • BS
    Fudan University (1982)

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
MemberUS National Academy of Sciences2018
MemberAmerican Academy of Arts and Sciences2018
The Research AwardSociety for the Study of Reproduction2015
Ray Wu AwardThe Chinese Biological Investigators Society2013
The NIH MERIT AwardNational Institutes of Health2012
The G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Award.The G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Foundation2011
Pioneer AwardNational Institutes of Health2010
The Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar AwardThe Ellison Medical Foundation2010
FellowAmerican Association for Advancement of Science2010

Departments & Organizations