Stem cells

  • Professor, Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
  • Department of Pediatrics, Medical School

Paul Orchard, MD, is a professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. Orchard is engaged in research studies related to determining strategies to enhance the delivery of enzymes to the brain and the peripheral nervous system for patients who lack specific enzymes. Orchard research interest includes testing types of stem cells that may improve outcomes for patients with inherited diseases, including gene therapy approaches. Orchard also leads research and clinical care for patients with osteopetrosis. He is considered an international expert in this disorder and its treatment. 

Expert in:
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Neurosurgery, Medical School
  • Assistant Professor, Stem Cell Institute

Ann Parr, MD, PhD, is blazing a trail toward novel therapies for spinal cord injuries. Parr’s research focuses on transplanting neural stem cells created from a patient’s skin into the patient’s spinal cord. Other research focus areas include cell tracking through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), animal modeling and mechanisms of functional recovery using histology and immunohistochemistry. 

  • Dean, Medical School
  • Vice President for Academic Clinical Affairs, Academic Health Center
  • McKnight University Distinguished Professor, Department of Pediatrics
  • Edmund Wallace Tulloch and Anna Marie Tulloch Chair, Stem Cell Biology, Genetics and Genomics
  • Director, University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute

Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD, dean of the Medical School and vice president for Academic Clinical Affairs at the Academic Health Center, is at the forefront of blood and marrow transplantation for bone marrow failure and metabolic disorders. His research focuses on the use of bone marrow derived stem cells for correcting genetic diseases and improving the outcomes for blood and marrow transplant patients. Tolar’s research is also investigating novel gene and cellular therapy for organs, such as heart, brain and bone, that are resistant to correction with bone marrow transplantation. Most recently, he was recognized for his work in using a blood and marrow transplant of stem cells to treat severe forms of a rare skin disease called epidermolysis bullosa, or EB. Tolar is a member of the Masonic Cancer Center’s Transplant Biology and Therapy Research Program.  

  • Professor, Department of Pediatrics
  • Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation
  • Department of Pediatrics, Scientific Director of Clinical Research, Stem Cell Institute
  • Co-Director, Center for Translational Medicine
  • Children’s Cancer Research Fund/Hageboeck Family Endowed Chair in Pediatric Oncology
  • McKnight Presidential Chair in Childhood Cancer Research

John E. Wagner, Jr., MD, is at the forefront of blood and marrow transplantation. He specializes in research and treatment of children with cancer. Dr. Wagner has led the University of Minnesota’s Cord Blood Transplantation Program in the treatment of adults and children and is responsible for its international prominence, having first pioneered its use in 1990 in leukemia. Wagner also specializes in Fanconi anemia and the use of stem cells in severe forms of a rare skin disease called epidermolysis bullosa, or EB. Recently, Wagner has begun research on the development of novel stem cell and immune-based therapies derived from cord blood, including the isolation and expansion of hematopoietic stem cells to reduce the time of blood and marrow recovery, regulatory T cells to control graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and thymic progenitor cells to enhance immune recovery and reduce the risk of relapse and infections after transplantation. Wagner is the co-leader of the Masonic Cancer Center’s Transplant Biology and Therapy Research Program.