BBS Faculty Member - Chad Cowan

Chad Cowan

Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology

Harvard University
Sherman Fairchild Building, Room 153
7 Divinity Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel: 617-496-5222
Fax: 617-496-8351
Visit my lab page here.

Our goal is to understand how naturally occurring human genetic variation protects (or predisposes) some people to cardiovascular and metabolic disease—the leading cause of death in the world—and to use that information to develop therapies that can protect the entire population from disease. Our strategy is to identify patients, families, and cohorts with disease; to use genetic techniques such as genome-wide association studies and exome sequencing to identify novel DNA variants and genes linked to disease; to use human cell-based models and mouse models to understand how the DNA variants affect gene and protein function; and to use these mechanistic insights to begin the process of developing new therapies that will benefit patients and populations. In particular, we are interested in using human pluripotent stem cells to create human-derived tissues, containing specific DNA variants, as genetic disease models in which environmental and epigenetic influences have been minimized. We also aim to use stem cells to enable regenerative medicine, in which a patient’s own cells can be genetically cured or made resistant to disease and then transplanted back into the body as a durable treatment.

Last Update: 9/8/2015


For a complete listing of publications click here.



Ahfeldt T, Schinzel RT, Lee YK, Hendrickson D, Kaplan A, Lum DH, Camahort R, Xia F, Shay J, Rhee EP, Clish CB, Deo RC, Shen T, Lau FH, Cowley A, Mowrer G, Al-Siddiqui H, Mahrendorf M, Musunuru K, Gerszten RE, Rinn JL, Cowan CA. Programming human pluripotent stem cells into white and brown adipocytes. Nature Cell Biology. 2012 Jan 15;14(2):209-19. doi: 10.1038/ncb2411. PMCID: PMC3385947.

Ding Q, Lee YK, Esperance A, Schaefer K, Peters DT, Veres A, Kim K, Kuperwasser N, Motola DL, Meissner TB, Hendriks WT, Trevisan M, Gupta RM, Moisan A, Friesen M, Schinzel RT, Xia F, Tang A, Xia Y, Figueroa E, Wann A, Ahfeldt T, Daheron L, Feng Zhang F, Rubin LL, Peng LF, Chung RT, Kiran Musunuru,
Cowan CA. A TALEN genome editing system to generate human cellular disease models. Cell Stem Cell. February 7, 2013. PMCID: PMC3570604.

Moisan A, Zhang JD, Prummer M, Zoffman SJ, Truong HH, Ebeling M, Kiialainen A, Gerard R, Schinzel R, Amrein K, Lee YK, Hudak CS,
Cowan CA. White-to-brown metabolic conversion of human adipocytes by JAK inhibition. Nature Cell Biology. [In Press]. NIHMSID: 639480.

Mandal PK, Ferreira LMR, Collins R, Meissner TB, Boutwell CL, Friesen M, Vrbanac V, Carrison BS, Stortchevoi A, Bryder D, Musunuru K, Brand H, Tager AM, Allen TM, Talkowski ME, Rossi DJ,
Cowan CA. Efficient Ablation of genes in human hematopoietic stem and effector cells using CRISPR/Cas9. Cell Stem Cell. Doi:10.1016/jstem.2014.10.004. [In Press]. NIHMSID: 635971.

© 2015 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College