Bruce Lahn

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Bruce Lahn
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materHarvard University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Known forMCPH1
Human Genetics
Human Evolutionary Genetics
Stem Cell Biology
Scientific career
FieldsHuman Evolutionary Genetics
Stem Cell Biology
Tissue Engineering
InstitutionsUniversity of Chicago
Doctoral advisorDavid C. Page

Bruce Lahn is a Chinese-born American geneticist. Lahn came to the U.S. from China to continue his education in the late 1980s.[1] He is the William B. Graham professor of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago. He is also the founder of the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Tissue Engineering at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China.

Lahn's honors include the Merrill Lynch Forum Global Innovation Award, the TR100 Award from Technology Review,[2] the Burroughs Wellcome Career Award, and a Searle Scholarship.[3] He was also named to the 40-Under-40 list by Crains Chicago Business. Lahn received his B.A. in General Biology from Harvard University and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the lab of David C. Page.[4] From 2000-2012, Lahn was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute sponsored Investigator.[5]

His previous research specialized in human genetics and evolutionary genetics, especially human sex chromosome evolution and the genetic basis that underlies the evolutionary expansion of the human brain. Lahn's current research interests include stem cell biology and epigenetics.[6]


Bruce Lahn is a Chinese-born American scientist. He currently works at the University of Chicago.[1] In the past he has studied human genetics and evolutionary genetics. His main objective with previous studies was to study the evolution of human sex chromosomes and the underlying basis for the growth of the human brain. Lahn is currently doing a wide spread of stem cell research as well as working with epigenetics.[6] Lahn's previous research has led to the hypothesis that the Neanderthals contributed to evolution of the human brain's size.[7] Lahn is currently working to contribute a better understanding of the widespread use of stem cells to the science world.

Research interests[edit]

Lahn has quite a few study interests, including, Human Genetics, Evolutionary Genetics, stem cell biology, and epigenetics. Human Genetics is the study of the inheritance patterns passed from parents to offspring in humans.[8] Human Evolutionary Genetics is the study of how one genome is different from another which leads to evolutionary developments. Stem Cell Biology is the study of cells capable of evolving into any of the different specialized cells. Epigenetics is the study of changes within an organism due to a change in the gene expression itself rather than a change in the genetic code.

Contributions to science[edit]

His research on the microcephaly-associated gene, MCPH1, led to the hypothesis that an archaic Homo sapiens lineage such as the Neanderthals might have contributed to the recent development of the human brain.[7] His research also suggested that newly arisen variants of two brain size genes, ASPM and MCPH1, might have been favored by positive natural selection in recent human history.[9] This research provoked controversy due to the finding that the positively selected variants of these genes had spread to higher frequencies in some parts of the world than in others (for ASPM, it is higher in Europe and surrounding regions than other parts of the world; for MCPH1, it is higher outside sub-Saharan Africa than inside).[10] He has advocated the moral position that human genetic diversity should be embraced and celebrated as among humanity's great assets.[11]

Lahn has many different studies with stem cells that he is currently working on. They range anywhere from looking at if the suicide gene can be modified with stem cells,[12] to looking at stem cells as a potential source to treat testicular dysfunctions.[13]


  1. ^ a b Hopkin, Karen (29 August 2005). "Rebel with a Lab". The Scientist. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  2. ^ Technology Review Bio. (biography) 2013, "MIT Technology Review."
  3. ^ Searle Scholars Bio. (biography) 2009, "Searle Scholars."
  4. ^ UChicago News Profile. (biography) 2015, "UChicago News".
  5. ^ HHMI Investigator Alumni Bio. (biography) 2015, "HHMI".
  6. ^ a b Lahn's Lab Website Archived May 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b Could interbreeding between humans and Neanderthals have led to an enhanced human brain? Howard Hughes Medical Institute, November 6, 2006
  8. ^ "Human genetics | biology". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
  9. ^ Lahn’s analysis of genes indicates human brain continues to evolve
  10. ^ Scientist's Study Of Brain Genes Sparks a Backlash. June 16, 2006. Wall Street Journal. Accessed 2015-04-07.
  11. ^ Lahn, Bruce T.; Ebenstein, Lanny (8 October 2009). "Let's celebrate human genetic diversity". Nature. 461 (7265): 726–728. Bibcode:2009Natur.461..726L. doi:10.1038/461726a. PMID 19812654.
  12. ^ Chen, Fei; Cai, Bing; Gao, Yong; Yuan, Xiaofeng; Cheng, Fuyi; Wang, Tao; Jiang, Meihua; Zhou, Yijia; Lahn, Bruce T.; Li, Weiqiang; Xiang, Andy Peng (February 2013). "Suicide gene-mediated ablation of tumor-initiating mouse pluripotent stem cells". Biomaterials. 34 (6): 1701–1711. doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2012.11.018. PMID 23218839.
  13. ^ Jiang, Mei Hua; Cai, Bing; Tuo, Ying; Wang, Jiancheng; Zang, Zhi Jun; Tu, Xiang'an; Gao, Yong; Su, Zhijian; Li, Weiqiang; Li, Guilan; Zhang, Min; Jiao, Jianwei; Wan, Zi; Deng, Chunhua; Lahn, Bruce T; Xiang, Andy Peng (21 November 2014). "Characterization of Nestin-positive stem Leydig cells as a potential source for the treatment of testicular Leydig cell dysfunction". Cell Research. 24 (12): 1466–1485. doi:10.1038/cr.2014.149. PMC 4260348. PMID 25418539.

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