Thorold Theunissen, Washington University School of medicine in St. Louis, USA

Thorold Theunissen

Dr. Thorold Theunissen is an Associate Professor of Developmental Biology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. As a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch’s laboratory at MIT, he developed strategies to derive naïve pluripotent stem cells that share defining transcriptional and epigenetic properties with pluripotent cells in the human blastocyst. With his team at WashU, Dr. Theunissen discovered that these naïve stem cells have a remarkable extraembryonic potential, readily giving rise to self-renewing trophoblast stem cells that can further differentiate into specialized placental lineages and trophoblast organoids. His team’s recent studies leverage naïve stem cells to generate blastocyst-like structures (also known as “blastoids”) that can develop to post-implantation stages on appropriate extracellular matrices, thus establishing an integrated model system of early human embryogenesis. He is a recipient of the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the Shipley Foundation Program for Innovation in Stem Cell Science Award, and the Edward Mallinckrodt Jr New Investigator Award. He currently serves on the Early Career Editorial Board of Stem Cell Reports.

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