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Lin Ma named 2021 STEM CELLS Young Investigator

Durham, NC (November 2021) Lin Ma, Ph.D., is the recipient of STEM CELLS’s Young Investigator Award for 2021. Her work on engineering hypoimmunogenic human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) exemplifies the potential of the field and promise of this young next generation of researchers. This award fosters advancements in the field of stem cell research by honoring a young researcher who is the principal author of an article published in STEM CELLS that is deemed to have the most impact and to push the boundaries of novel and insightful research.

Dr. Ma and her team’s method shelters hPSCs from attack by the immune system by imitating the expression pattern of classical and nonclassical human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I molecules in human pluripotent stem cells via genetic engineering. As such, they have the potential to serve as an unlimited cell source for generating universally compatible “off-the-shelf” cell grafts in the future.

Cell therapy is a promising strategy for treating many, currently uncurable, diseases. Generating genetically engineered hypoimmunogenic hPSCs is an efficient and economical way to produce scalable functional cell sources for allogenic transplantation without immune rejection. This work may help to lift some of the barriers and concerns of allogenic transplantation to move the cell therapy field forward.

“This work is incredibly important for the future of cellular therapies using the differentiated products of pluripotent stem cells,” said Editor-in-Chief Dr. Jan Nolta. “The ability to transplant these important cellular products without needing to immune suppress the recipient could revolutionize the field. Dr. Ma was our clear winner this year for her important contribution to this field. We congratulate her on her impactful studies.”

Dr. Ma is currently an associate investigator in the Translational Medical Center for Stem Cell Therapy, co-founded by Tongji University’s School of Medicine and Shanghai East Hospital.

Learn more about Lin Ma’s work on hypoimmunogenic human pluripotent stem cells and read her winning paper "Generation of hypoimmunogenic human pluripotent stem cells via expression of membrane-bound and secreted β2m-HLA-G fusion proteins."

Lin Ma, winner of the latest STEM CELLS Young Investigator Award (left) pictured alongside colleague Lei Shi (right).


About the Journal: STEM CELLS, a peer reviewed journal published monthly, provides a forum for prompt publication of original investigative papers and concise reviews. The journal covers all aspects of stem cells: embryonic stem cells/induced pluripotent stem cells; tissue-specific stem cells; cancer stem cells; the stem cell niche; stem cell epigenetics, genomics and proteomics; and translational and clinical research. STEM CELLS is co-published by AlphaMed Press and Wiley.

About AlphaMed Press: Established in 1983, AlphaMed Press with offices in Durham, NC, San Francisco, CA, and Belfast, Northern Ireland, publishes three internationally renowned peer-reviewed journals with globally recognized editorial boards dedicated to advancing knowledge and education in their focused disciplines. STEM CELLS® ( is the world's first journal devoted to this fast paced field of research. The Oncologist® ( is devoted to community and hospital-based oncologists and physicians entrusted with cancer patient care. STEM CELLS TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE® ( is dedicated to significantly advancing the clinical utilization of stem cell molecular and cellular biology. By bridging stem cell research and clinical trials, SCTM will help move applications of these critical investigations closer to accepted best practices.

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