Stephen Dalton, Ph.D.

Molecular cell biology
The University of Georgia
Recruited: 2002

Stem cells have the potential to become any type of human cell. Once developed, these cells can replace damaged cells in the body and help grow new, healthy tissue. In his work with non-embryonic stem cells, Stephen Dalton is unlocking that potential.
Dalton was the lead author of a 2012 study that solved the riddle of how pluripotent stem cells are transformed into a distinct type of cell. For years, scientists across the globe have studied these non-differentiated cells, harvested from adult tissue, but their research yielded conflicting results. Dalton sorted out the molecules that send signals to stem cells and untangled how their complex interaction controlled the cells’ development.
Dalton’s research makes it easier and more efficient for scientists to create cells to cure degenerative diseases or repair acute injuries. For example, new cardiac cells could be used in patients with heart disease; new pancreatic cells could be transplanted into patients with diabetes; and new neural cells could be used to repair brain injuries.


  • Biology of pluripotent cells. Cell cycle, cell signaling, self-renewal mechanisms, and mechanisms of cell fate specification.
  • Cardiac progenitor cells. Cardiac development, characterization of cardiac stem cells, and development of novel cardiac cell therapies.
  • Pluripotent cells as a source of hematopoietic stem and endothelial cells. hESC and hiPSC-derived hemogenic endothelium, mechanisms of hematopoietic development, and cell therapies for blood disorders using hESC, hiPSC-derived hematopoietic stem cells.
  • Neural progenitors and neural crest. hESC and hiPSC derived nueral progenitors, biology of neural crest and mechanisms of differentiation.
  • Glycobiology of pluripotent stem cells. Analysis of cell surface glycans in pluripotent, cardiac and pancreatic lineages; identification of cell surface markers; and the role of protein and lipid glycosylation in pluripotency and differentiation.
  • Differentiation of pluripotent cells towards pancreatic lineages. Metabolic profiling of pancreatic lineages, metabolic profiling of pluripotent cells; and cell signaling and cell cycle control in foregut endoderm and pancreatic progenitors.
  • Disease modeling using iPSCs. Craniofacial development/defects and pediatric heart defects.

Choosing Georgia

Dalton was drawn to Georgia’s research environment, its biomedical research community, and the opportunity to interact with the biotechnology sector.