Haifan Lin, Ph.D. is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Cell Biology and a Professor of Genetics, of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, and of Dermatology at Yale University; he is also the Founding Director of Yale’s Stem Cell Center.
Dr. Lin studies the self-renewing mechanism of stem cells, stem cell-related cancers, and reproductive biology. He made key contributions to the demonstration of stem cell self-renewing division and the proof of the stem cell niche theory. He discovered the Argonaute-Piwi genes as the first gene family with essential stem cell function highly conserved in both animal and plant kingdoms. He is also a discoverer of PIWI-interacting RNA (piRNA), a discovery hailed by Science as one of the 10 Breakthroughs in 2006. Recently, he demonstrated the crucial roles of the Piwi-piRNA pathway in epigenetic programming and post-transcriptional regulation of mRNA and lncRNA.
Dr. Lin received his B.S. degree from Fudan University, Ph.D. degree from Cornell University, and postdoctoral training at the Carnegie Institution for Science. He joined the faculty of Duke University Medical School in 1994, where he rose to full professor. He founded and directed Duke’s Stem Cell Research Program (2005-2006) and moved to Yale University in 2006 to establish and direct the Yale Stem Cell Center, building it from two labs to one of the largest stem cell research entities with 102 member labs. With Yale’s support, he served as the Adjunct Founding Dean of School of Life Science and Technology at ShanghaiTech University, building a world-class school with 74 faculty members.
Dr. Lin has played numerous leadership roles in the scientific community. He is President of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR, 2022-2023). Previously, he served as President-Elect, Vice President, Director, Treasurer, and Chair of various committees of the ISSCR, as well as on the advisory boards/committees of more than 30 other academic and nonprofit organizations.
Dr. Lin has received more than 30 awards in his career. Recent ones include the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, the NIH MERIT Award , the Ray Wu Award, the Society for the Study of Reproduction Research Award, and the Chinese Association for Science and Technology, USA, Outstanding Science and Innovation Award. He is a Member of US National Academy of Sciences, a Member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science, and a Foreign Member of the Chinese Academy of Science.