Dr. Haifan
Eugene Higgins Professor of Cell Biology, Founding Director of Yale Stem Cell Center


Dr. Haifan Lin is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Cell Biology and founding director of Yale Stem Cell Center, as well as Professor of Genetics; Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences; and Dermatology at Yale School of Medicine.

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. He received his BS from Fudan University and his PhD from Cornell University, and he did his postdoctoral training at the Carnegie Institution for Science. In 1994 he joined the faculty of Duke University Medical School, where he rose to full professor and founded the Duke Stem Cell Research Program. In 2006 he moved to Yale to establish and direct the Yale Stem Cell Center. 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 gene family and its 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 of 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 serves in various leadership roles in the International Society for Stem Cell Research, the greater scientific community and beyond. The recipient of over 30 awards, he is also a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science.