In new role as dean, Dr. George Q. Daley strengthens ties between Harvard Medical School and the Boston Children’s Stem Cell Program

Daley will continue to be a strong presence within his lab as he becomes the leader of the nation’s top medical school.

It has been a year of rapid growth and incredible accomplishment for the Boston Children’s Stem Cell Program, as its researchers lead in translating the promise of stem cells into new insights and treatments for cancer, blood disorders, and more.

In addition to the groundbreaking discoveries the program’s researchers make every day, the lab’s scientists and staff are incredibly proud of its co-founder, George Q. Daley, on his recent appointment as Dean of the Harvard Medical School.

Daley said he plans to continue to talk about the importance of the science performed at Boston Children’s, now amplified from his new perch.

“In my travels, my greater exposure as dean is going to increase the visibility of the Children’s Hospital Stem Cell Program,” said Daley.

Some of the most exciting and best work that’s ever been done within the labs is happening now, Daley said, which is why he will continue to be an active leader and researcher within the Stem Cell Program. Daley will work one day a week at the Children’s campus, maintaining his role and continuing his passion as a scientist.

Especially exciting, Daley said, are the breakthroughs being made in the field of pluripotent stem cells. For years, scientists have been attempting to generate blood stem cells from these pluripotent stem cells. Within the last year, the Children’s Hospital Stem Cell Program has made major advances in generating those functional blood stem cells, allowing scientists to model different human blood diseases. Half of all patients cannot currently benefit from stem cell therapy because they do not have an immune matched marrow sample or cord blood unit. The blood stem cells that come from pluripotent cells could be a new source for these patients–making stem cell therapy available for everyone.

Daley will continue to work closely with Dr. Leonard Zon, director of the Stem Cell Program and Daley’s research partner of 11 years. The Stem Cell Program will soon be moving to a new location on the fifth and sixth floors of the Karp Research Building, allowing the Stem Cell Program to build a facility that will allow full translation of the researchers’ work.

“It’s great that the leader of the medical school came through our program,” said Zon, who is the Grousbeck Professor of Pediatric Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “George is an extremely capable doctor and scientist, and I am thrilled that he will continue his efforts on making blood stem cells from pluripotent cells.”

While he will be taking on new administrative duties, Daley said he’ll always be a scientist at his core.

“I’ve always been a scientist who worked at fundamental inquiries and actually treating patients,” Daley said. “As dean, I take on a whole new set of challenges. But fundamentally, I will never give up my vision of being a scientist and trying to push the boundaries of knowledge through our own research.”