Rudolf Jaenisch

Rudolf Jaenisch

Professor of Biology; Member, Whitehead Institute; Member, Institute of Medicine

Rudolf Jaenisch uses pluripotent cells (ES and iPS cells) to study the genetic and epigenetic basis of human diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, autism and cancer.





Robert Burger



Assistant Phone


MD 1967, University of Munich

Research Summary

We aim to understand the epigenetic regulation of gene expression in mammalian development and disease. Embryonic stem cells are important because they have the potential to generate any cell type in the body and, therefore, have great potential for regenerative medicine. We study the way somatic cells reprogram to an embryonic pluripotent state, and use patient specific pluripotent cells to study complex human diseases.


  • German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Otto Warburg Medal, 2014
  • New York Academy, Medicine Medal, 2013
  • Franklin Institute, Benjamin Franklin Medal, 2013
  • National Science Foundation, National Medal of Science, 2011
  • National Science Foundation, National Medal of Science, 2010
  • National Academy of Sciences, Member, 2003

Key Publications

  1. Editing DNA Methylation in the Mammalian Genome. Liu, XS, Wu, H, Ji, X, Stelzer, Y, Wu, X, Czauderna, S, Shu, J, Dadon, D, Young, RA, Jaenisch, R. 2016. Cell 167, 233-247.e17.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.08.056PMID:27662091
  2. Parkinson-associated risk variant in distal enhancer of α-synuclein modulates target gene expression. Soldner, F, Stelzer, Y, Shivalila, CS, Abraham, BJ, Latourelle, JC, Barrasa, MI, Goldmann, J, Myers, RH, Young, RA, Jaenisch, R. 2016. Nature 533, 95-9.
    doi: 10.1038/nature17939PMID:27096366
  3. One-step generation of mice carrying mutations in multiple genes by CRISPR/Cas-mediated genome engineering. Wang, H, Yang, H, Shivalila, CS, Dawlaty, MM, Cheng, AW, Zhang, F, Jaenisch, R. 2013. Cell 153, 910-8.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.04.025PMID:23643243
  4. In vitro reprogramming of fibroblasts into a pluripotent ES-cell-like state. Wernig, M, Meissner, A, Foreman, R, Brambrink, T, Ku, M, Hochedlinger, K, Bernstein, BE, Jaenisch, R. 2007. Nature 448, 318-24.
    doi: 10.1038/nature05944PMID:17554336
  5. Monoclonal mice generated by nuclear transfer from mature B and T donor cells. Hochedlinger, K, Jaenisch, R. 2002. Nature 415, 1035-8.
    doi: 10.1038/nature718PMID:11875572

Recent Publications

  1. Stem Cells, Genome Editing, and the Path to Translational Medicine. Soldner, F, Jaenisch, R. 2018. Cell 175, 615-632.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.09.010PMID:30340033
  2. Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived glial cells and neural progenitors display divergent responses to Zika and dengue infections. Muffat, J, Li, Y, Omer, A, Durbin, A, Bosch, I, Bakiasi, G, Richards, E, Meyer, A, Gehrke, L, Jaenisch, R. 2018. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 115, 7117-7122.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.1719266115PMID:29915057
  3. Building Capacity for a Global Genome Editing Observatory: Institutional Design. Saha, K, Hurlbut, JB, Jasanoff, S, Ahmed, A, Appiah, A, Bartholet, E, Baylis, F, Bennett, G, Church, G, Cohen, IG et al.. 2018. Trends Biotechnol. 36, 741-743.
    doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2018.04.008PMID:29891181
  4. Building Capacity for a Global Genome Editing Observatory: Conceptual Challenges. Hurlbut, JB, Jasanoff, S, Saha, K, Ahmed, A, Appiah, A, Bartholet, E, Baylis, F, Bennett, G, Church, G, Cohen, IG et al.. 2018. Trends Biotechnol. 36, 639-641.
    doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2018.04.009PMID:29871776
  5. Matched Developmental Timing of Donor Cells with the Host Is Crucial for Chimera Formation. Cohen, MA, Markoulaki, S, Jaenisch, R. 2018. Stem Cell Reports 10, 1445-1452.
    doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2018.03.004PMID:29606614
  6. Establishment of human pluripotent stem cell-derived pancreatic β-like cells in the mouse pancreas. Ma, H, Wert, KJ, Shvartsman, D, Melton, DA, Jaenisch, R. 2018. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 115, 3924-3929.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.1702059115PMID:29599125
  7. Human cerebral organoids reveal deficits in neurogenesis and neuronal migration in MeCP2-deficient neural progenitors. Mellios, N, Feldman, DA, Sheridan, SD, Ip, JPK, Kwok, S, Amoah, SK, Rosen, B, Rodriguez, BA, Crawford, B, Swaminathan, R et al.. 2018. Mol. Psychiatry 23, 791.
    doi: 10.1038/mp.2018.5PMID:29565043
  8. Cytotoxic Escherichia coli strains encoding colibactin isolated from immunocompromised mice with urosepsis and meningitis. Bakthavatchalu, V, Wert, KJ, Feng, Y, Mannion, A, Ge, Z, Garcia, A, Scott, KE, Caron, TJ, Madden, CM, Jacobsen, JT et al.. 2018. PLoS ONE 13, e0194443.
    doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194443PMID:29554148
  9. Rescue of Fragile X Syndrome Neurons by DNA Methylation Editing of the FMR1 Gene. Liu, XS, Wu, H, Krzisch, M, Wu, X, Graef, J, Muffat, J, Hnisz, D, Li, CH, Yuan, B, Xu, C et al.. 2018. Cell 172, 979-992.e6.
    doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.01.012PMID:29456084
  10. Mechanisms of gene regulation in human embryos and pluripotent stem cells. Theunissen, TW, Jaenisch, R. 2017. Development 144, 4496-4509.
    doi: 10.1242/dev.157404PMID:29254992
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Photo credit: Gretchen Ertl/Whitehead Institute