Haifan Lin, PhD, Eugene Higgins Professor of Cell Biology; professor of genetics, of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences, and of dermatology; and director of the Yale Stem Cell Center was elected vice president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), a signifiant recognition of his contributions to the field by the international stem cell research community. He is on track to become president of ISSCR in 2022.
Lin studies the self-renewing mechanism of stem cells, germline development, and stem cell-related cancers. He 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 its essential function in stem cell self-renewal and germline development, demonstrating its crucial function in breast cancer and other cancers. He is a discoverer of PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs), hailed by the Science magazine as one of the 10 Scientific Breakthroughs in 2006. Recently, he proposed and demonstrated the crucial roles of the Piwi-piRNA pathway in epigenetic programming and in post-transcriptional regulation of messenger RNA and IncRNA, a type of noncoding RNA.
As a founding member of ISSCR, Lin has served on many committees, the ISSCR board, and as the treasurer. His new role will allow him to work closely with the global stem cell research community, uniting stem cell researchers from different parts of the world to accelerate fundamental discoveries and their ethical applications to benefit mankind.