Amy J. Wagers, Ph.D.

Amy J. Wagers, Ph.D.Amy Wagers is the Forst Family Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University, Senior Investigator in the Section on Islet Cell and Regenerative Biology at the Joslin Diabetes Center, an HHMI Early Career Scientist, and a member of the Paul F. Glenn Laboratories for the Biological Mechanisms of Aging at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Wagers received her Ph.D. in Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis from Northwestern University, and completed postdoctoral training in stem cell biology at Stanford University. Dr. Wagers’ research seeks to understand how changes in stem cell activity impact tissue homeostasis and repair throughout life. Work from her lab provides evidence for the existence of a conserved systemic regulatory axis that modulates tissue maintenance and regeneration across a wide variety of tissues that vary significantly in their intrinsic repair capacity, and her ongoing studies have begun to identify the molecules responsible for age-variant regulation of regenerative potential. Dr. Wagers has authored more than 100 primary research and review articles, and her work has been recognized by awards from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Beckman Foundation, WM Keck Foundation, and Glenn Foundation, and National Institutes of Health. In 2013, she received the New York Stem Cell Foundation’s Robertson Prize for outstanding achievement in translational stem cell research.

Research. Aging of multicellular organisms typically involves progressive decline in the body’s ability to maintain homeostatic cell replacement and to regenerate tissues and organs after injury. Precisely how aging causes deterioration of tissue function is poorly understood, but several lines of evidence, including preliminary data from my lab, suggest that loss or functional impairment of tissue-specific stem and progenitor cells contributes directly to these age-dependent failures. Our data further indicate that the effects of aging on stem cell function arise in part from alterations in the aged environment that act to suppress stem cell activity in older animals and may be enhanced or reversed by factors that circulate naturally in the bloodstream. Thus, the primary goals of our ongoing work are to molecularly identify the critical blood-borne regulators that control tissue stem cell function throughout life, and to develop novel strategies to target these systemic pathways in order to delay or reverse the detrimental effects of aging on tissue maintenance and repair.

Direct Contact

Harvard Medical School
77 Ave Louis Pasteur
Boston, MA 02115
Lab Website:

Selected Publications

Eggan K, Jurga S, Gosden R, Min IM, Wagers AJ. Ovulated oocytes in adult mice derive from non-circulating germ cells. Nature 2006;441:1109-14.

Min IM, Pietramaggiori G, Kim FS, Passegue E, Stevenson KE, Wagers AJ. The transcription factor EGR1 controls both the proliferation and localization of hematopoietic stem cells. Cell Stem Cell 2008;2:380-391.

Cerletti M, Jurga S, Witczak CA, Hirshman MF, Shadrach JL, Goodyear LJ, Wagers AJ. Highly efficient, functional engraftment of skeletal muscle stem cells in dystrophic muscles. Cell 2008;134:37-47.

Pietramaggiori G, Scherer SS, Alperovich M, Chen B, Orgill DP, Wagers AJ. Improved cutaneous healing in diabetic mice exposed to a healthy peripheral circulation. J. Invest. Dermatol. 2009;129:2265-74.

Hettmer S, Liu J, Miller CM, Lindsay MC, Sparks CA, Guertin DA, Bronson RT, Langenau DM, Wagers AJ. Sarcomas induced in discrete subsets of prospectively isolated skeletal muscle cells. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 2011;108:20002-7.

Jang YC, Sinha M, Cerletti M, Dall’Osso C, and Wagers AJ. Skeletal muscle stem cells: effects of aging and metabolism on muscle regenerative function. Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol. 2011;76:101-11. Epub 2011 Sept 29.

Schulz TJ, Huang TL, Tran TT, Zhang H, Townsend KL, Shadrach JL, Cerletti M, McDougall LE, Giorgadze N, Tchkonia T, Schrier D, Falb D, Kirkland JL, Wagers AJ, Tseng YH. Identification of inducible brown adipocyte progenitors residing in skeletal muscle and white fat. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 2011;108:143-8.

Ruckh J, Zhao J-W, Shadrach J, van Wijngaarden P, Nageswara Rao T, Wagers AJ*, Franklin RJM*. Rejuvenation of regeneration in the aging central nervous system. Cell Stem Cell 2012;10:96-103. *Co-corresponding authors

Cerletti M, Jang Y, Finley LWS, Haigis MC, Wagers AJ. Short-term calorie restriction enhances skeletal muscle stem cell function. Cell Stem Cell 2012;10:515-9.

Wagers AJ. The stem cell niche in regenerative medicine. Cell Stem Cell 2012 10;362-9.

Loffredo FS, Steinhauser ML, Jay SM, Gannon J, Pancoast JR, Yalamanchi P, Sinha M, Dall’Osso C, Khong D, Shadrach JL, Miller CM, Singer BS, Stewart A, Psychogios N, Gerszten RE, Hartigan AJ, Kim MJ, Serwold T, Wagers AJ*, Lee RT*. Growth differentiation factor 11 is a circulating factor that reverses age-related cardiac hypertrophy. Cell, 2013;153:828-39. *Co-corresponding authors.

Hettmer S, Teot LA, van Hummelen P, Macconaill L, Bronson RT, Dall’Osso C, Mao J, McMahon AP, Gruber PJ, Grier HE, Rodriguez-Galindo C, Fletcher CD, Wagers AJ. Mutations in hedgehog pathway genes in fetal rhabdomyomas. J. Pathol., 2013 June 18 [Epub ahead of print].

Gazit R, Garrison BS, Nageswara Rao, T, Shay T, Costello J, Ericson J, Kim F, Collins JJ, Regev A, Wagers AJ, Rossi DJ and the Immunological Genome Project Consortium. Transcriptome analysis identifies novel regulators of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Stem Cell Reports 2013; in press.