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Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Sean J. Morrison, 33

Medicine

University of Michigan

Stem cells have become icons of medical hope, and Sean J. Morrison has made fundamental discoveries that explain their workings. As a post- doc at Caltech, Morrison devised a way to harvest neural stem cells from fresh tissue rather than from tissue cultured in the lab, where stem cells might have been created as an artifact of the culturing process. In sodoing, Morrison clarified many of the cells’ properties. “He is one of the most talented stem cell researchers,” says David J. Anderson, Morrison’s advisor at Caltech. While studying similarities between stem cells and cancer cells, Morrison and a collaborator made the surprising discovery that tumor growth may be driven by rare “cancer stem cells.” Now an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, Morrison recently cofounded Cancer Stem Cell Genomics to investigate the possibility that that discovery could lead to better ways of developing cancer-killing drugs. The nascent company is Morrison’s second business foray. In college he developed an inexpensive process for mass-producing fungi, but his company lacked capital. Given stem cells’ medical applications, his new business is not likely to have similar trouble.

2002 TR35 Winners

Ewan Birney

Biotechnology

Fiona Brinkman

Biotechnology

Chris Burge

Biotechnology

Benjamin Cravatt

Biotechnology

Nathaniel David

Biotechnology

Susan Hagness

Medicine

Derek Hansford

Materials

J. Joseph Kim

Medicine

Steven Laken

Medicine

Kelvin Lee

Medicine

Milan Mrksich

Materials

Stephen OConnor

Biotechnology

Alexander Olek

Biotechnology

Vijay Pande

Biotechnology

Stephen Quake

Materials

David Sabatini

Biotechnology

John Santini

Medicine

David Schaffer

Medicine

Christoph Westphal

Biotechnology

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