Ann Tsukamoto

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Ann Tsukamoto
Born (1952-07-06) July 6, 1952 (age 69)
California, United States
Alma materUniversity of California San Diego
University of California Los Angeles
Scientific career
FieldsStem cell biology
InstitutionsUniversity of California San Francisco
SyStemix, Inc.
StemCells, Inc.

Ann Tsukamoto (born July 6, 1952) is an American stem cell researcher and inventor.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Ann Tsukamoto was born in California, in 1952. She attended University of California San Diego, where she earned her undergraduate degree. Tsukamoto then enrolled in University of California Los Angeles, where she earned her Ph. D in immunology and macrobiology.

She moved to University of California, San Francisco, where she worked with the WNT-1 gene, and helped Harold Varmus to create a transgenic model for breast cancer for her postdoctoral studies.

In the early 1990s, she was part of the group of scientists that discovered the human hematopoietic stem cell (blood stem cell).[3] Learning how to isolate stem cells was key to cancer research; while transplanting blood stem cells can replace damaged cells created by cancers such as leukemia.


Tsukamoto worked for 10 years at stem cell company, SyStemix, Inc., where she began her research on blood stem cell isolation.  While there Tsukamoto discovered the human hematopoietic stem cell (hHSC), along with colleagues. After the discovery, Tsukamoto took the lead on launching the clinical research program for the hHSC, which is where purified hHSC was discovered to be cancer-free after it was isolated from the contaminated hematopoietic blood of cancer patients. The hHSC clinical research program also discovered the purified hHSC's ability to regenerate the blood-forming system of patients after myeloablative chemotherapy.[citation needed]  

In 1991, Tsukamoto was a co-inventor on SyStemix' patent for Human hematopoietic stem cells. In 1997 Tsukamoto and her colleagues received a patent for the identification and isolation of human hematopoietic stem cells. In 1998, Tsukamoto joined StemCells, Inc. due to her new focus on the discovery and development of neural, liver, and pancreatic stem cells.[citation needed]

Tsukamoto discovered the human central nervous system stem cell and a second candidate stem cell for the liver, which transitioned the human neural stem cell into early clinical development in the spinal cord, brain, and eye.

As of 2013, Tsukamoto was Executive Vice President for Scientific & Strategic Alliances at StemCells, Inc., although the company closed in August 2016


  1. ^ "Ann Tsukamoto". See Jane. April 24, 2019. Retrieved August 7, 2021.
  2. ^ Baum, C. M.; Weissman, I. L.; Tsukamoto, A. S.; Buckle, A. M.; Peault, B. (April 1, 1992). "Isolation of a candidate human hematopoietic stem-cell population". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 89 (7): 2804–2808.
  3. ^ "Ann Tsukamoto: The Truth about Stem Cells". Retrieved August 7, 2021.