Professor Roger Pedersen

Roger Pedersen

University position


Professor Roger Pedersen is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


Department of Surgery


Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine and MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute


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Research Themes

Developmental Neuroscience

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Our principal objective is to define the molecular and genetic basis for the maintenance of the pluripotent status of human embryonic stem cells, and similarly, the basis for their differentiation into the primary body lineages: mesoderm, endoderm and neuroectoderm. Previous studies had revealed that pluripotency of human embryonic stem cells was not maintained by similar mechanisms as for mouse embryonic stem cells, whose self-renewal depends on Leukemia Inhibitor Factor and Bone Morphogenetic Protein. We have examined the effects of other growth factors known to be important in cell fate decisions of mammalian and other vertebrate embryos. We found that signaling through the Activin/Nodal pathway is critical for maintenance of pluripotency and that basic Fibroblast Growth Factor augments this pathway. We hypothesise that their effects in human embryonic stem cells involve alternative intermediate transcription factor(s) and target genes, which is the subject of our current studies.

Migratory behaviour in Human embryonic stemcells
Migratory behaviour in human embryonic stemcells
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Research Focus


stem cells





Clinical conditions

Alzheimer's disease

Autoimmune diseases


Cerebrovascular disorders




Genetic disorders

Huntington's disease

Multiple sclerosis

Parkinson's disease

Traumatic brain injury


Cell culture

Confocal microscopy

Fluorescence microscopy


Protein purification

Recombinant protein expression



Anne Ferguson-Smith

William Harris

Jim Smith

United Kingdom

Peter Andrews Web:

Bryan Turner Web:


George Daley Web:

Rudolf Jaenisch Web:

Bing Lim Web:

Associated News Items

    Key publications

    Brons, IGM, Smithers LE, Trotter M, Rugg-Gunn P, Sun B, Chuva de Sousa Lopes SM, Howlett SK, Clarkson A, Ahrlund-Richter L, Pedersen RA and Vallier L (2007), “Derivation of pluripotent epiblast stem cells from mammalian embryos. Nature” [Doi:10.1038/nature05950 Epub ahead of print 28 June 2007].

    Vallier L, Alexander M, Pedersen R (2007), “Conditional gene expression in human embryonic stem cells” Stem Cells 25:1490-1497 Details

    Bowles KM, Vallier L, Smith JR, Alexander MRJ, Pedersen RA (2006), “HOXB4 overexpression promotes hematopoietic development by human embryonic stem cells” Stem Cells 24:1359-1369



    Cheung C, Bernardo AS, Pedersen RA, Sinha S (2014), “Directed differentiation of embryonic origin-specific vascular smooth muscle subtypes from human pluripotent stem cells.” Nat Protoc 9(4):929-38 Details

    Mascetti VL, Pedersen RA (2014), “Naiveté of the human pluripotent stem cell.” Nat Biotechnol 32(1):68-70 Details

    Mendjan S, Mascetti VL, Ortmann D, Ortiz M, Karjosukarso DW, Ng Y, Moreau T, Pedersen RA (2014), “NANOG and CDX2 Pattern Distinct Subtypes of Human Mesoderm during Exit from Pluripotency.” Cell Stem Cell Details

    Roberts RM, Loh KM, Amita M, Bernardo AS, Adachi K, Alexenko AP, Schust DJ, Schulz LC, Telugu BP, Ezashi T, Pedersen RA (2014), “Differentiation of trophoblast cells from human embryonic stem cells: to be or not to be?” Reproduction 147(5):D1-12 Details

    Soares FA, Chandra A, Thomas RJ, Pedersen RA, Vallier L, Williams DJ (2014), “Investigating the feasibility of scale up and automation of human induced pluripotent stem cells cultured in aggregates in feeder free conditions.” J Biotechnol 173:53-8 Details


    Fordham RP, Yui S, Hannan NR, Soendergaard C, Madgwick A, Schweiger PJ, Nielsen OH, Vallier L, Pedersen RA, Nakamura T, Watanabe M, Jensen KB (2013), “Transplantation of expanded fetal intestinal progenitors contributes to colon regeneration after injury.” Cell Stem Cell 13(6):734-44 Details

    Lupo G, Novorol C, Smith JR, Vallier L, Miranda E, Alexander M, Biagioni S, Pedersen RA, Harris WA (2013), “Multiple roles of Activin/Nodal, bone morphogenetic protein, fibroblast growth factor and Wnt/β-catenin signalling in the anterior neural patterning of adherent human embryonic stem cell cultures.” Open Biol 3(4):120167 Details


    Cheung C, Bernardo AS, Trotter MW, Pedersen RA, Sinha S (2012), “Generation of human vascular smooth muscle subtypes provides insight into embryological origin-dependent disease susceptibility.” Nat Biotechnol 30(2):165-73 Details

    Cho LT, Wamaitha SE, Tsai IJ, Artus J, Sherwood RI, Pedersen RA, Hadjantonakis AK, Niakan KK (2012), “Conversion from mouse embryonic to extra-embryonic endoderm stem cells reveals distinct differentiation capacities of pluripotent stem cell states.” Development 139(16):2866-77 Details

    Evans AL, Faial T, Gilchrist MJ, Down T, Vallier L, Pedersen RA, Wardle FC, Smith JC (2012), “Genomic targets of Brachyury (T) in differentiating mouse embryonic stem cells.” PLoS One 7(3):e33346 Details

    Gupta K, Patani R, Baxter P, Serio A, Story D, Tsujita T, Hayes JD, Pedersen RA, Hardingham GE, Chandran S (2012), “Human embryonic stem cell derived astrocytes mediate non-cell-autonomous neuroprotection through endogenous and drug-induced mechanisms.” Cell Death Differ 19(5):779-87 Details

    Niakan KK, Han J, Pedersen RA, Simon C, Pera RA (2012), “Human pre-implantation embryo development.” Development 139(5):829-41 Details

    Pedersen RA, Mascetti V, Mendjan S (2012), “Synthetic organs for regenerative medicine.” Cell Stem Cell 10(6):646-7 Details

    Sun B, Ito M, Mendjan S, Ito Y, Brons IG, Murrell A, Vallier L, Ferguson-Smith AC, Pedersen RA (2012), “Status of genomic imprinting in epigenetically distinct pluripotent stem cells.” Stem Cells 30(2):161-8 Details

    Yang JD, Kim B, Sanderson SO, St Sauver JL, Yawn BP, Pedersen RA, Larson JJ, Therneau TM, Roberts LR, Kim WR (2012), “Hepatocellular carcinoma in olmsted county, Minnesota, 1976-2008.” Mayo Clin Proc 87(1):9-16 Details

    Yang JD, Kim WR, Park KW, Chaiteerakij R, Kim B, Sanderson SO, Larson JJ, Pedersen RA, Therneau TM, Gores GJ, Roberts LR, Park JW (2012), “Model to estimate survival in ambulatory patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.” Hepatology 56(2):614-21 Details

    Yang VS, Carter SA, Ng Y, Hyland SJ, Tachibana-Konwalski K, Fisher RA, Sebire NJ, Seckl MJ, Pedersen RA, Laskey RA, Gonzalez MA (2012), “Distinct activities of the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) in mouse embryonic cells.” Cell Cycle 11(5):846-55 Details


    Bernardo AS, Faial T, Gardner L, Niakan KK, Ortmann D, Senner CE, Callery EM, Trotter MW, Hemberger M, Smith JC, Bardwell L, Moffett A, Pedersen RA (2011), “BRACHYURY and CDX2 mediate BMP-induced differentiation of human and mouse pluripotent stem cells into embryonic and extraembryonic lineages.” Cell Stem Cell 9(2):144-55 Details

    Charlton MR, Burns JM, Pedersen RA, Watt KD, Heimbach JK, Dierkhising RA (2011), “Frequency and outcomes of liver transplantation for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis in the United States.” Gastroenterology 141(4):1249-53 Details

    Patani R, Hollins AJ, Wishart TM, Puddifoot CA, Alvarez S, de Lera AR, Wyllie DJ, Compston DA, Pedersen RA, Gillingwater TH, Hardingham GE, Allen ND, Chandran S (2011), “Retinoid-independent motor neurogenesis from human embryonic stem cells reveals a medial columnar ground state.” Nat Commun 2:214 Details

    Pauklin S, Pedersen RA, Vallier L (2011), “Mouse pluripotent stem cells at a glance.” J Cell Sci 124(Pt 22):3727-32 Details


    Asrani SK, Kim WR, Pedersen RA, Charlton MR, Kremers WK, Therneau TM, Rosen CB, Dean PG (2010), “Daclizumab induction therapy in liver transplant recipients with renal insufficiency.” Aliment Pharmacol Ther 32(6):776-86 Details

    Asrani SK, Leise MD, West CP, Murad MH, Pedersen RA, Erwin PJ, Tian J, Wiesner RH, Kim WR (2010), “Use of sirolimus in liver transplant recipients with renal insufficiency: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Hepatology 52(4):1360-70 Details

    Asrani SK, Lim YS, Therneau TM, Pedersen RA, Heimbach J, Kim WR (2010), “Donor race does not predict graft failure after liver transplantation.” Gastroenterology 138(7):2341-7 Details

    Bambha K, Kim WR, Rosen CB, Pedersen RA, Rys C, Kolbert CP, Cunningham JM, Therneau TM (2010), “Endothelial nitric oxide synthase gene variation associated with chronic kidney disease after liver transplant.” Mayo Clin Proc 85(9):814-20 Details

    Chng Z, Teo A, Pedersen RA, Vallier L (2010), “SIP1 mediates cell-fate decisions between neuroectoderm and mesendoderm in human pluripotent stem cells.” Cell Stem Cell 6(1):59-70 Details

    Kim HJ, Larson JJ, Lim YS, Kim WR, Pedersen RA, Therneau TM, Rosen CB (2010), “Impact of MELD on waitlist outcome of retransplant candidates.” Am J Transplant 10(12):2652-7 Details

    Rostambeigi N, Kudva YC, John S, Mailankody S, Pedersen RA, Dean PG, Prieto M, Cosio FG, Kremers WK, Walker RC, Abraham RS, Stegall MD (2010), “Epidemiology of infections requiring hospitalization during long-term follow-up of pancreas transplantation.” Transplantation 89(9):1126-33 Details

    Watt KD, Coss E, Pedersen RA, Dierkhising R, Heimbach JK, Charlton MR (2010), “Pretransplant serum troponin levels are highly predictive of patient and graft survival following liver transplantation.” Liver Transpl 16(8):990-8 Details

    Watt KD, Pedersen RA, Kremers WK, Heimbach JK, Charlton MR (2010), “Evolution of causes and risk factors for mortality post-liver transplant: results of the NIDDK long-term follow-up study.” Am J Transplant 10(6):1420-7 Details

    Yang JD, Kim E, Pedersen RA, Kim WR, Pungpapong S, Roberts LR (2010), “Utility of Serum YKL-40 as a Tumor-Specific Marker of Hepatobiliary Malignancies.” Gut Liver 4(4):537-42 Details


    Bernardo AS, Cho CH, Mason S, Docherty HM, Pedersen RA, Vallier L, Docherty K (2009), “Biphasic induction of Pdx1 in mouse and human embryonic stem cells can mimic development of pancreatic beta-cells.” Stem Cells 27(2):341-51 Details

    Kim WR, Terrault NA, Pedersen RA, Therneau TM, Edwards E, Hindman AA, Brosgart CL (2009), “Trends in waiting list registration for liver transplantation for viral hepatitis in the United States.” Gastroenterology 137(5):1680-6 Details

    Vallier L, Mendjan S, Brown S, Chng Z, Teo A, Smithers LE, Trotter MW, Cho CH, Martinez A, Rugg-Gunn P, Brons G, Pedersen RA (2009), “Activin/Nodal signalling maintains pluripotency by controlling Nanog expression.” Development 136(8):1339-49 Details

    Vallier L, Touboul T, Brown S, Cho C, Bilican B, Alexander M, Cedervall J, Chandran S, Ahrlund-Richter L, Weber A, Pedersen RA (2009), “Signaling pathways controlling pluripotency and early cell fate decisions of human induced pluripotent stem cells.” Stem Cells 27(11):2655-66 Details

    Vallier L, Touboul T, Chng Z, Brimpari M, Hannan N, Millan E, Smithers LE, Trotter M, Rugg-Gunn P, Weber A, Pedersen RA (2009), “Early cell fate decisions of human embryonic stem cells and mouse epiblast stem cells are controlled by the same signalling pathways.” PLoS One 4(6):e6082 Details

    Watt KD, Pedersen RA, Kremers WK, Heimbach JK, Sanchez W, Gores GJ (2009), “Long-term probability of and mortality from de novo malignancy after liver transplantation.” Gastroenterology 137(6):2010-7 Details


    Arthurs SK, Eid AJ, Pedersen RA, Kremers WK, Cosio FG, Patel R, Razonable RR (2008), “Delayed-onset primary cytomegalovirus disease and the risk of allograft failure and mortality after kidney transplantation.” Clin Infect Dis 46(6):840-6 Details

    Kodra JT, Jørgensen AS, Andersen B, Behrens C, Brand CL, Christensen IT, Guldbrandt M, Jeppesen CB, Knudsen LB, Madsen P, Nishimura E, Sams C, Sidelmann UG, Pedersen RA, Lynn FC, Lau J (2008), “Novel glucagon receptor antagonists with improved selectivity over the glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide receptor.” J Med Chem 51(17):5387-96 Details

    Smith JR, Maguire S, Davis LA, Alexander M, Yang F, Chandran S, ffrench-Constant C, Pedersen RA (2008), “Robust, persistent transgene expression in human embryonic stem cells is achieved with AAVS1-targeted integration.” Stem Cells 26(2):496-504 Details

    Smith JR, Vallier L, Lupo G, Alexander M, Harris WA, Pedersen RA (2008), “Inhibition of Activin/Nodal signaling promotes specification of human embryonic stem cells into neuroectoderm.” Dev Biol 313(1):107-17 Details


    Arthurs SK, Eid AJ, Pedersen RA, Dierkhising RA, Kremers WK, Patel R, Razonable RR (2007), “Delayed-onset primary cytomegalovirus disease after liver transplantation.” Liver Transpl 13(12):1703-9 Details

    Brons IG, Smithers LE, Trotter MW, Rugg-Gunn P, Sun B, Chuva de Sousa Lopes SM, Howlett SK, Clarkson A, Ahrlund-Richter L, Pedersen RA, Vallier L (2007), “Derivation of pluripotent epiblast stem cells from mammalian embryos.” Nature 448(7150):191-5 Details

    Kijpittayarit-Arthurs S, Eid AJ, Kremers WK, Pedersen RA, Dierkhising RA, Patel R, Razonable RR (2007), “Clinical features and outcomes of delayed-onset primary cytomegalovirus disease in cardiac transplant recipients.” J Heart Lung Transplant 26(10):1019-24 Details

    Kim K, Ng K, Rugg-Gunn PJ, Shieh JH, Kirak O, Jaenisch R, Wakayama T, Moore MA, Pedersen RA, Daley GQ (2007), “Recombination signatures distinguish embryonic stem cells derived by parthenogenesis and somatic cell nuclear transfer.” Cell Stem Cell 1(3):346-52 Details

    Lee TH, Shah N, Pedersen RA, Kremers WK, Rosen CB, Klintmalm GB, Kim WR (2007), “Survival after liver transplantation: Is racial disparity inevitable?” Hepatology 46(5):1491-7 Details

    Ricci D, Tazelaar HD, Miyagi N, Rao VP, Pedersen RA, Kremers WK, Byrne GW, McGregor CG (2007), “The utility of right ventricular endomyocardial biopsy for the diagnosis of xenograft rejection after CD46 pig-to-baboon cardiac transplantation.” J Heart Lung Transplant 26(10):1025-32 Details

    Rugg-Gunn PJ, Ferguson-Smith AC, Pedersen RA (2007), “Status of genomic imprinting in human embryonic stem cells as revealed by a large cohort of independently derived and maintained lines.” Hum Mol Genet 16 Spec No. 2:R243-51 Details

    Soh BS, Song CM, Vallier L, Li P, Choong C, Yeo BH, Lim EH, Pedersen RA, Yang HH, Rao M, Lim B (2007), “Pleiotrophin enhances clonal growth and long-term expansion of human embryonic stem cells.” Stem Cells 25(12):3029-37 Details


    Bowles KM, Vallier L, Smith JR, Alexander MR, Pedersen RA (2006), “HOXB4 overexpression promotes hematopoietic development by human embryonic stem cells.” Stem Cells 24(5):1359-69 Details

    Weier JF, Ferlatte C, Baumgartner A, Jung CJ, Nguyen HN, Chu LW, Pedersen RA, Fisher SJ, Weier HU (2006), “Molecular cytogenetic studies towards the full karyotype analysis of human blastocysts and cytotrophoblasts.” Cytogenet Genome Res 114(3-4):302-11 Details


    Lavoir MC, Weier J, Conaghan J, Pedersen RA (2005), “Poor development of human nuclear transfer embryos using failed fertilized oocytes.” Reprod Biomed Online 11(6):740-4 Details

    Pedersen RA (2005), “Developments in human embryonic stem cells.” Reprod Biomed Online 10 Suppl 1:60-2 Details

    Pfendler KC, Catuar CS, Meneses JJ, Pedersen RA (2005), “Overexpression of Nodal promotes differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells into mesoderm and endoderm at the expense of neuroectoderm formation.” Stem Cells Dev 14(2):162-72 Details

    Rongey C, Bambha K, Vanness D, Pedersen RA, Malinchoc M, Therneau TM, Dickson ER, Kim WR (2005), “Employment and health insurance in long-term liver transplant recipients.” Am J Transplant 5(8):1901-8 Details

    Rugg-Gunn PJ, Ferguson-Smith AC, Pedersen RA (2005), “Human embryonic stem cells as a model for studying epigenetic regulation during early development.” Cell Cycle 4(10):1323-6 Details

    Rugg-Gunn PJ, Ferguson-Smith AC, Pedersen RA (2005), “Epigenetic status of human embryonic stem cells.” Nat Genet 37(6):585-7 Details

    Taylor CJ, Bolton EM, Pocock S, Sharples LD, Pedersen RA, Bradley JA (2005), “Banking on human embryonic stem cells: estimating the number of donor cell lines needed for HLA matching.” Lancet 366(9502):2019-25 Details

    Vallier L, Alexander M, Pedersen RA (2005), “Activin/Nodal and FGF pathways cooperate to maintain pluripotency of human embryonic stem cells.” J Cell Sci 118(Pt 19):4495-509 Details

    Vallier L, Pedersen RA (2005), “Human embryonic stem cells: an in vitro model to study mechanisms controlling pluripotency in early mammalian development.” Stem Cell Rev 1(2):119-30 Details

    Weier JF, Weier HU, Nureddin A, Pedersen RA, Racowsky C (2005), “Aneuploidy involving chromosome 1 in failed-fertilized human oocytes is unrelated to maternal age.” J Assist Reprod Genet 22(7-8):285-93 Details


    Kawase E, Hashimoto K, Pedersen RA (2004), “Autocrine and paracrine mechanisms regulating primordial germ cell proliferation.” Mol Reprod Dev 68(1):5-16 Details

    Stoffel M, Vallier L, Pedersen RA (2004), “Navigating the pathway from embryonic stem cells to beta cells.” Semin Cell Dev Biol 15(3):327-36 Details

    Vallier L, Reynolds D, Pedersen RA (2004), “Nodal inhibits differentiation of human embryonic stem cells along the neuroectodermal default pathway.” Dev Biol 275(2):403-21 Details

    Vallier L, Rugg-Gunn PJ, Bouhon IA, Andersson FK, Sadler AJ, Pedersen RA (2004), “Enhancing and diminishing gene function in human embryonic stem cells.” Stem Cells 22(1):2-11 Details