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 et al.. 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 et al.. 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. Human T Cells Expressing a CD19 CAR-T Receptor Provide Insights into Mechanisms of Human CD19-Positive β Cell Destruction. Ma, H, Jeppesen, JF, Jaenisch, R. 2020. Cell Rep Med 1, 100097.
    doi: 10.1016/j.xcrm.2020.100097PMID:33205073
  2. Engineered tissues and strategies to overcome challenges in drug development. Khalil, AS, Jaenisch, R, Mooney, DJ. 2020. Adv Drug Deliv Rev , .
    doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2020.09.012PMID:32987094
  3. MeCP2 links heterochromatin condensates and neurodevelopmental disease. Li, CH, Coffey, EL, Dall'Agnese, A, Hannett, NM, Tang, X, Henninger, JE, Platt, JM, Oksuz, O, Zamudio, AV, Afeyan, LK et al.. 2020. Nature 586, 440-444.
    doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2574-4PMID:32698189
  4. Functional analysis of CX3CR1 in human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell-derived microglia-like cells. Murai, N, Mitalipova, M, Jaenisch, R. 2020. Eur J Neurosci 52, 3667-3678.
    doi: 10.1111/ejn.14879PMID:32579729
  5. Intravital imaging of mouse embryos. Huang, Q, Cohen, MA, Alsina, FC, Devlin, G, Garrett, A, McKey, J, Havlik, P, Rakhilin, N, Wang, E, Xiang, K et al.. 2020. Science 368, 181-186.
    doi: 10.1126/science.aba0210PMID:32273467
  6. Formation of Human Neuroblastoma in Mouse-Human Neural Crest Chimeras. Cohen, MA, Zhang, S, Sengupta, S, Ma, H, Bell, GW, Horton, B, Sharma, B, George, RE, Spranger, S, Jaenisch, R et al.. 2020. Cell Stem Cell 26, 579-592.e6.
    doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2020.02.001PMID:32142683
  7. Human iPSC-derived microglia assume a primary microglia-like state after transplantation into the neonatal mouse brain. Svoboda, DS, Barrasa, MI, Shu, J, Rietjens, R, Zhang, S, Mitalipova, M, Berube, P, Fu, D, Shultz, LD, Bell, GW et al.. 2019. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 116, 25293-25303.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.1913541116PMID:31772018
  8. Dynamic Enhancer DNA Methylation as Basis for Transcriptional and Cellular Heterogeneity of ESCs. Song, Y, van den Berg, PR, Markoulaki, S, Soldner, F, Dall'Agnese, A, Henninger, JE, Drotar, J, Rosenau, N, Cohen, MA, Young, RA et al.. 2019. Mol Cell 75, 905-920.e6.
    doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2019.06.045PMID:31422875
  9. Pharmacological enhancement of KCC2 gene expression exerts therapeutic effects on human Rett syndrome neurons and Mecp2 mutant mice. Tang, X, Drotar, J, Li, K, Clairmont, CD, Brumm, AS, Sullins, AJ, Wu, H, Liu, XS, Wang, J, Gray, NS et al.. 2019. Sci Transl Med 11, .
    doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aau0164PMID:31366578
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Photo credit: Gretchen Ertl/Whitehead Institute