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Willy Lensch, Ph.D.

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Outstanding Teaching Award
Graduate Student Address at Commencement
Hadassah Service Award
Fellow, The Aspen Institute Health Forum
Governor's Distinguished Service Award
Mentor to USA Delegates
Service Award
2009 - 2012
Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching
2010 - 2011
Knop Visiting Scholar

My research is primarily focused on probing the pathophysiological bases of rare genetic bone marrow failure syndromes such as Fanconi anemia, Shwachman-Diamond syndrome, and others. I am also interested in germ cell-related tumors and various forms of myeloid leukemia, especially those stemming from cases of genetic predisposition. These projects work in parallel with efforts to better understand the basic biology of human blood formation or hematopoiesis. All of this work makes use of human pluripotent stem cells including embryonic (hESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) as well as a variety of tissue-derived stem, progenitor, and mature cell types.

Beyond the bench, I value participating in discussions of policy, ethics, and education. Since 2004, I have been a member of the Public Education Committee of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR). I have also been involved in a wide variety of discussions relating to biomedical research including in government, religious, and general public forums at the local, state, national, and international levels.

I maintain an active role as an educator at the undergraduate and graduate levels as well as for the general public. A great deal of this is via the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) where I serve as a member of the Principal Faculty, as Faculty Director of Education, and the Director of the HSCI summer internship program for undergraduates (HIP). I additionally serve as Head Instuctor and Course Organizer for SCRB 167: Stem Cells and Regeneration in the Pathobiology and Treatment of Disease, an offering for Harvard undergraduates.

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
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  1. Lensch MW, Mummery CL. From stealing fire to cellular reprogramming: a scientific history leading to the 2012 Nobel Prize. Stem Cell Reports. 2013 Jun 04; 1(1):5-17. PMID: 24052937; PMCID: PMC3757737.
    Citations: 6     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
  2. Tulpule A, Kelley JM, Lensch MW, McPherson J, Park IH, Hartung O, Nakamura T, Schlaeger TM, Shimamura A, Daley GQ. Pluripotent stem cell models of Shwachman-Diamond syndrome reveal a common mechanism for pancreatic and hematopoietic dysfunction. Cell Stem Cell. 2013 Jun 06; 12(6):727-36. PMID: 23602541; PMCID: PMC3755012.
    Citations: 39     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  3. Kim PG, Albacker CE, Lu YF, Jang IH, Lim Y, Heffner GC, Arora N, Bowman TV, Lin MI, Lensch MW, De Los Angeles A, Zon LI, Loewer S, Daley GQ. Signaling axis involving Hedgehog, Notch, and Scl promotes the embryonic endothelial-to-hematopoietic transition. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jan 08; 110(2):E141-50. PMID: 23236128.
    Citations: 38     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
  4. Lensch MW. An evolving model of hematopoietic stem cell functional identity. Stem Cell Rev Rep. 2012 Jun; 8(2):551-60. PMID: 22278132.
    Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  5. Kim K, Zhao R, Doi A, Ng K, Unternaehrer J, Cahan P, Huo H, Loh YH, Aryee MJ, Lensch MW, Li H, Collins JJ, Feinberg AP, Daley GQ. Donor cell type can influence the epigenome and differentiation potential of human induced pluripotent stem cells. Nat Biotechnol. 2011 Nov 27; 29(12):1117-9. PMID: 22119740; PMCID: PMC3357310.
    Citations: 289     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  6. Lensch MW. Public perception of stem cell and genomics research. Genome Med. 2011 Jul 06; 3(7):44. PMID: 21745416.
    Citations: 2     Fields:    
  7. Zhu H, Lensch MW, Cahan P, Daley GQ. Investigating monogenic and complex diseases with pluripotent stem cells. Nat Rev Genet. 2011 Apr; 12(4):266-75. PMID: 21386866.
    Citations: 62     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
  8. Loh YH, Hartung O, Li H, Guo C, Sahalie JM, Manos PD, Urbach A, Heffner GC, Grskovic M, Vigneault F, Lensch MW, Park IH, Agarwal S, Church GM, Collins JJ, Irion S, Daley GQ. Reprogramming of T cells from human peripheral blood. Cell Stem Cell. 2010 Jul 02; 7(1):15-9. PMID: 20621044.
    Citations: 136     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  9. Lensch MW, Rao M. Induced pluripotent stem cells: opportunities and challenges. Regen Med. 2010 Jul; 5(4):483-4. PMID: 20632848.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
  10. Tulpule A, Lensch MW, Miller JD, Austin K, D'Andrea A, Schlaeger TM, Shimamura A, Daley GQ. Knockdown of Fanconi anemia genes in human embryonic stem cells reveals early developmental defects in the hematopoietic lineage. Blood. 2010 Apr 29; 115(17):3453-62. PMID: 20089964; PMCID: PMC2867260.
    Citations: 38     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  11. Baek KH, Zaslavsky A, Lynch RC, Britt C, Okada Y, Siarey RJ, Lensch MW, Park IH, Yoon SS, Minami T, Korenberg JR, Folkman J, Daley GQ, Aird WC, Galdzicki Z, Ryeom S. Down's syndrome suppression of tumour growth and the role of the calcineurin inhibitor DSCR1. Nature. 2009 Jun 25; 459(7250):1126-30. PMID: 19458618; PMCID: PMC2724004.
    Citations: 157     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
  12. Adamo L, Naveiras O, Wenzel PL, McKinney-Freeman S, Mack PJ, Gracia-Sancho J, Suchy-Dicey A, Yoshimoto M, Lensch MW, Yoder MC, García-Cardeña G, Daley GQ. Biomechanical forces promote embryonic haematopoiesis. Nature. 2009 Jun 25; 459(7250):1131-5. PMID: 19440194.
    Citations: 207     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
  13. Lensch MW. Cellular reprogramming and pluripotency induction. Br Med Bull. 2009; 90:19-35. PMID: 19376801.
    Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  14. Daley GQ, Lensch MW, Jaenisch R, Meissner A, Plath K, Yamanaka S. Broader implications of defining standards for the pluripotency of iPSCs. Cell Stem Cell. 2009 Mar 06; 4(3):200-1; author reply 202. PMID: 19265657.
    Citations: 55     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
  15. Park IH, Arora N, Huo H, Maherali N, Ahfeldt T, Shimamura A, Lensch MW, Cowan C, Hochedlinger K, Daley GQ. Disease-specific induced pluripotent stem cells. Cell. 2008 Sep 05; 134(5):877-86. PMID: 18691744; PMCID: PMC2633781.
    Citations: 973     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  16. Lensch MW, West JA. Looking into the future of cell-based therapy. South Med J. 2008 Jan; 101(1):79-82. PMID: 18176297.
    Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  17. Park IH, Zhao R, West JA, Yabuuchi A, Huo H, Ince TA, Lerou PH, Lensch MW, Daley GQ. Reprogramming of human somatic cells to pluripotency with defined factors. Nature. 2008 Jan 10; 451(7175):141-6. PMID: 18157115.
    Citations: 1226     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
  18. Lensch MW, Ince TA. The terminology of teratocarcinomas and teratomas. Nat Biotechnol. 2007 Nov; 25(11):1211; author reply 1211-2. PMID: 17989663.
    Citations: 11     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
  19. Agarwal S, Lensch MW, Daley GQ. Current prospects for the generation of patient-specific pluripotent cells from adult tissues. Regen Med. 2007 Sep; 2(5):743-52. PMID: 17907926.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  20. Lensch MW, Schlaeger TM, Zon LI, Daley GQ. Teratoma formation assays with human embryonic stem cells: a rationale for one type of human-animal chimera. Cell Stem Cell. 2007 Sep 13; 1(3):253-8. PMID: 18371359.
    Citations: 58     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
  21. Lensch MW, Tulpule AB, and Zaehres H. RNA Interference in Human Embryonic Stem Cells. Human Embryonic Stem Cells: A Practical Handbook. 2007; 367-377.
  22. Wu X, Lensch MW, Wylie-Sears J, Daley GQ, Bischoff J. Hemogenic endothelial progenitor cells isolated from human umbilical cord blood. Stem Cells. 2007 Nov; 25(11):2770-6. PMID: 17641248.
    Citations: 12     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  23. Lensch MW, Daley GQ. Human embryonic stem cells flock together. Nat Biotechnol. 2007 Jul; 25(7):748-50. PMID: 17621300.
    Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
  24. Lensch MW. Recent Advances in Stem Cell Biology. South Med J. 2007.
  25. Schlaeger TM, Lensch MW, Taylor PL. Science aside: the trajectory of embryonic stem cell research in the USA. Drug Discov Today. 2007 Apr; 12(7-8):269-71. PMID: 17395086.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  26. Lensch MW, Daheron L, Schlaeger TM. Pluripotent stem cells and their niches. Stem Cell Rev. 2006; 2(3):185-201. PMID: 17625255.
    Citations: 21     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
  27. Lensch MW, Daley GQ. Scientific and clinical opportunities for modeling blood disorders with embryonic stem cells. Blood. 2006 Apr 01; 107(7):2605-12. PMID: 16332966; PMCID: PMC1895374.
    Citations: 7     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
  28. Zaehres H, Lensch MW, Daheron L, Stewart SA, Itskovitz-Eldor J, Daley GQ. High-efficiency RNA interference in human embryonic stem cells. Stem Cells. 2005 Mar; 23(3):299-305. PMID: 15749924.
    Citations: 95     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  29. Lensch MW. Stem Cell Research Deserves Respect, Not Scorn. Salt Lake Tribune (Utah). 2004.
  30. Lensch MW, Daley GQ. Origins of mammalian hematopoiesis: in vivo paradigms and in vitro models. Curr Top Dev Biol, Ed. GP Schatten. 2004; 60:127-196.
  31. Dahéron L, Opitz SL, Zaehres H, Lensch MW, Lensch WM, Andrews PW, Itskovitz-Eldor J, Daley GQ. LIF/STAT3 signaling fails to maintain self-renewal of human embryonic stem cells. Stem Cells. 2004; 22(5):770-8. PMID: 15342941.
    Citations: 132     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
  32. Lensch MW, Tischkowitz M, Christianson TA, Reifsteck CA, Speckhart SA, Jakobs PM, O'Dwyer ME, Olson SB, Le Beau MM, Hodgson SV, Mathew CG, Larson RA, Bagby GC. Acquired FANCA dysfunction and cytogenetic instability in adult acute myelogenous leukemia. Blood. 2003 Jul 01; 102(1):7-16. PMID: 12637330.
    Citations: 12     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  33. M. William Lensch. Clonal Selection: The Leukemic Process in Fanconi Anemia. 2002.
  34. Fagerlie S, Lensch MW, Pang Q, Bagby GC. The Fanconi anemia group C gene product: signaling functions in hematopoietic cells. Exp Hematol. 2001 Dec; 29(12):1371-81. PMID: 11750095.
    Citations: 8     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
  35. Lensch MW, Rathbun RK, Olson SB, Jones GR, Bagby GC. Selective pressure as an essential force in molecular evolution of myeloid leukemic clones: a view from the window of Fanconi anemia. Leukemia. 1999 Nov; 13(11):1784-9. PMID: 10557053.
    Citations: 26     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
  36. Pellegrino JE, Lensch MW, Muenke M, Chance PF. Clinical and molecular analysis in Joubert syndrome. Am J Med Genet. 1997 Oct 03; 72(1):59-62. PMID: 9295076.
    Citations: 13     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  37. Chance PF, Alderson MK, Odelberg SJ, and Lensch MW. Deletion in chromosome 17p11.2-12 which causes the disorder hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies. 1997.
  38. Graf WD, Chance PF, Lensch MW, Eng LJ, Lipe HP, Bird TD. Severe vincristine neuropathy in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A. Cancer. 1996 Apr 01; 77(7):1356-62. PMID: 8608515.
    Citations: 25     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  39. Kiyosawa H, Lensch MW, Chance PF. Analysis of the CMT1A-REP repeat: mapping crossover breakpoints in CMT1A and HNPP. Hum Mol Genet. 1995 Dec; 4(12):2327-34. PMID: 8634706.
    Citations: 18     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  40. Bone LJ, Dahl N, Lensch MW, Chance PF, Kelly T, Le Guern E, Magi S, Parry G, Shapiro H, Wang S, et al. New connexin32 mutations associated with X-linked Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Neurology. 1995 Oct; 45(10):1863-6. PMID: 7477983.
    Citations: 10     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  41. Chance PF, Lensch MW, Lipe H, Brown RH, Brown RH, Bird TD. Hereditary neuralgic amyotrophy and hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies: two distinct genetic disorders. Neurology. 1994 Dec; 44(12):2253-7. PMID: 7991108.
    Citations: 6     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  42. Chance PF, Abbas N, Lensch MW, Pentao L, Roa BB, Patel PI, Lupski JR. Two autosomal dominant neuropathies result from reciprocal DNA duplication/deletion of a region on chromosome 17. Hum Mol Genet. 1994 Feb; 3(2):223-8. PMID: 8004087.
    Citations: 83     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  43. Bergoffen J, Scherer SS, Wang S, Scott MO, Bone LJ, Paul DL, Chen K, Lensch MW, Chance PF, Fischbeck KH. Connexin mutations in X-linked Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Science. 1993 Dec 24; 262(5142):2039-42. PMID: 8266101.
    Citations: 225     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
  44. Chance PF, Alderson MK, Leppig KA, Lensch MW, Matsunami N, Smith B, Swanson PD, Odelberg SJ, Disteche CM, Bird TD. DNA deletion associated with hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies. Cell. 1993 Jan 15; 72(1):143-51. PMID: 8422677.
    Citations: 182     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  45. Chance PF, Bird TD, Matsunami N, Lensch MW, Brothman AR, Feldman GM. Trisomy 17p associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy type 1A phenotype: evidence for gene dosage as a mechanism in CMT1A. Neurology. 1992 Dec; 42(12):2295-9. PMID: 1461382.
    Citations: 12     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  46. Chance PF, Matsunami N, Lensch W, Smith B, Bird TD. Analysis of the DNA duplication 17p11.2 in Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy type 1 pedigrees: additional evidence for a third autosomal CMT1 locus. Neurology. 1992; 42(10):2037-2041.
  47. Chance PF, Matsunami N, Lensch W, Smith B, Bird TD. Analysis of the DNA duplication 17p11.2 in Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy type 1 pedigrees: additional evidence for a third autosomal CMT1 locus. Neurology. 1992 Oct; 42(10):2037-41. PMID: 1407588.
    Citations: 7     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  48. Matsunami N, Smith B, Ballard L, Lensch MW, Robertson M, Albertsen H, Hanemann CO, Müller HW, Bird TD, White R, et al. Peripheral myelin protein-22 gene maps in the duplication in chromosome 17p11.2 associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth 1A. Nat Genet. 1992 Jun; 1(3):176-9. PMID: 1303231.
    Citations: 68     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
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Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.