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Rene Maehr PhD

TitleAssociate Professor
InstitutionUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School
DepartmentProgram in Molecular Medicine
AddressUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School
368 Plantation Street, Sherman Center, AS7.2057
Worcester MA 01605
Phone508-856-3037
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    Other Positions
    InstitutionUMMS - School of Medicine
    DepartmentProgram in Molecular Medicine

    InstitutionUMMS - School of Medicine
    DepartmentRNA Therapeutics Institute

    InstitutionUMMS - Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
    DepartmentInterdisciplinary Graduate Program


    Collapse ORNG Applications 
    Collapse Websites

    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse education and training
    Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, , NetherlandsPHD
    Harvard University, Cambridge, USAPostdoc
    Harvard Medical School, Boston, USAVisiting Student
    Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, Freiburg, GermanyDiplom
    Collapse awards and honors
    2015The Glass Charitable Foundation Term Chair in Diabetes
    2014 - 2016Charles H Hood Foundation Child Health Research Award for junior faculty
    2005Naomi Berrie Diabetes Research Fellow
    2001 - 2004Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds Pre-doctoral Fellowship

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse overview


    The thymus, through being a critical location for thymopoiesis, has been linked to various immune syndromes such as immunodeficiency and autoimmunity.  The focus of our research program is to delineate the molecular pathways that govern thymus organogenesis and function, and to translate this knowledge to stem cell approaches to recapitulate and investigate human immune syndromes associated with this organ. In our research, we combine of variety experimental systems, including human pluripotent stem cell differentiation, CRISPR-based (epi-)genome engineering, epigenetics and functional genomics, as well as various disease models for human immune syndromes. The long-term goal is to recapitulate the disease in a patient-specific manner and to identify novel treatment strategies.



    Collapse Rotation Projects
    A rotation project is available

    Collapse Post Docs
    A postdoctoral position is available



    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse selected publications
    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.
    List All   |   Timeline
    1. Fischer DS, Fiedler AK, Kernfeld E, Genga RMJ, Hasenauer J, Maehr R, Theis FJ. Beyond pseudotime: Following T-cell maturation in single-cell RNAseq time series. bioRxiv 219188. . 2017.
    2. Parsi KM, Hennesy E, Kearns NA, Maehr R. Using an Inducible CRISPR-Cas9-KRAB Effector System to Dissect Transcriptional Regulation in Human Embryonic Stem Cells. Methods Mol Biol. . 2017.
    3. Babon JA, DeNicola ME, Blodgett DM, Crèvecoeur I, Buttrick TS, Maehr R, Bottino R, Naji A, Kaddis J, Elyaman W, James EA, Haliyur R, Brissova M, Overbergh L, Mathieu C, Delong T, Haskins K, Pugliese A, Campbell-Thompson M, Mathews C, Atkinson MA, Powers AC, Harlan DM, Kent SC. Analysis of self-antigen specificity of islet-infiltrating T cells from human donors with type 1 diabetes. Nature Medicine,. 2016.
    4. Pham H, Kearns NA, Maehr R. Transcriptional Regulation with CRISPR/Cas9 Effectors in Mammalian Cells. Methods Mol Biol. 2016; 1358:43-57. PMID: 26463376.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Genga RM, Kearns NA, Maehr R. Controlling transcription in human pluripotent stem cells using CRISPR-effectors. Methods. 2016 May 15; 101:36-42. PMID: 26525193.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Kearns NA, Pham H, Tabak B, Genga RM, Silverstein NJ, Garber M, Maehr R. Functional annotation of native enhancers with a Cas9-histone demethylase fusion. Nat Methods. 2015 May; 12(5):401-3. PMID: 25775043.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Chen YJ, Finkbeiner SR, Weinblatt D, Emmett MJ, Tameire F, Yousefi M, Yang C, Maehr R, Zhou Q, Shemer R, Dor Y, Li C, Spence JR, Stanger BZ. De novo formation of insulin-producing "neo-ß cell islets" from intestinal crypts. Cell Rep. 2014 Mar 27; 6(6):1046-58. PMID: 24613355.
      View in: PubMed
    8. Kearns NA, Genga RM, Enuameh MS, Garber M, Wolfe SA, Maehr R. Cas9 effector-mediated regulation of transcription and differentiation in human pluripotent stem cells. Development. 2014 Jan; 141(1):219-23. PMID: 24346702.
      View in: PubMed
    9. Tajonar A, Maehr R, Hu G, Sneddon JB, Rivera-Feliciano J, Cohen DE, Elledge SJ, Melton DA. Brief report: VGLL4 is a novel regulator of survival in human embryonic stem cells. Stem Cells. 2013 Dec; 31(12):2833-41. PMID: 23765749.
      View in: PubMed
    10. Kearns NA, Genga RM, Ziller M, Kapinas K, Peters H, Brehm MA, Meissner A, Maehr R. Generation of organized anterior foregut epithelia from pluripotent stem cells using small molecules. Stem Cell Res. 2013 Nov; 11(3):1003-12. PMID: 23917481.
      View in: PubMed
    11. Sherwood RI, Maehr R, Mazzoni EO, Melton DA. Wnt signaling specifies and patterns intestinal endoderm. Mech Dev. 2011 Sep-Dec; 128(7-10):387-400. PMID: 21854845.
      View in: PubMed
    12. Maehr R. iPS cells in type 1 diabetes research and treatment. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2011 May; 89(5):750-3. PMID: 21430661.
      View in: PubMed
    13. Greer PL, Hanayama R, Bloodgood BL, Mardinly AR, Lipton DM, Flavell SW, Kim TK, Griffith EC, Waldon Z, Maehr R, Ploegh HL, Chowdhury S, Worley PF, Steen J, Greenberg ME. The Angelman Syndrome protein Ube3A regulates synapse development by ubiquitinating arc. Cell. 2010 Mar 5; 140(5):704-16. PMID: 20211139.
      View in: PubMed
    14. Niakan KK, Ji H, Maehr R, Vokes SA, Rodolfa KT, Sherwood RI, Yamaki M, Dimos JT, Chen AE, Melton DA, McMahon AP, Eggan K. Sox17 promotes differentiation in mouse embryonic stem cells by directly regulating extraembryonic gene expression and indirectly antagonizing self-renewal. Genes Dev. 2010 Feb 1; 24(3):312-26. PMID: 20123909.
      View in: PubMed
    15. Maehr R, Chen S, Snitow M, Ludwig T, Yagasaki L, Goland R, Leibel RL, Melton DA. Generation of pluripotent stem cells from patients with type 1 diabetes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Sep 15; 106(37):15768-73. PMID: 19720998.
      View in: PubMed
    16. Borowiak M, Maehr R, Chen S, Chen AE, Tang W, Fox JL, Schreiber SL, Melton DA. Small molecules efficiently direct endodermal differentiation of mouse and human embryonic stem cells. Cell Stem Cell. 2009 Apr 3; 4(4):348-58. PMID: 19341624.
      View in: PubMed
    17. Chen S, Borowiak M, Fox JL, Maehr R, Osafune K, Davidow L, Lam K, Peng LF, Schreiber SL, Rubin LL, Melton D. A small molecule that directs differentiation of human ESCs into the pancreatic lineage. Nat Chem Biol. 2009 Apr; 5(4):258-65. PMID: 19287398.
      View in: PubMed
    18. Huangfu D, Osafune K, Maehr R, Guo W, Eijkelenboom A, Chen S, Muhlestein W, Melton DA. Induction of pluripotent stem cells from primary human fibroblasts with only Oct4 and Sox2. Nat Biotechnol. 2008 Nov; 26(11):1269-75. PMID: 18849973.
      View in: PubMed
    19. Gounaris E, Tung CH, Restaino C, Maehr R, Kohler R, Joyce JA, Ploegh HL, Plough HL, Barrett TA, Weissleder R, Khazaie K. Live imaging of cysteine-cathepsin activity reveals dynamics of focal inflammation, angiogenesis, and polyp growth. PLoS One. 2008 Aug 13; 3(8):e2916. PMID: 18698347.
      View in: PubMed
    20. Huangfu D, Maehr R, Guo W, Eijkelenboom A, Snitow M, Chen AE, Melton DA. Induction of pluripotent stem cells by defined factors is greatly improved by small-molecule compounds. Nat Biotechnol. 2008 Jul; 26(7):795-7. PMID: 18568017.
      View in: PubMed
    21. Westbrook TF, Hu G, Ang XL, Mulligan P, Pavlova NN, Liang A, Leng Y, Maehr R, Shi Y, Harper JW, Elledge SJ. SCFbeta-TRCP controls oncogenic transformation and neural differentiation through REST degradation. Nature. 2008 Mar 20; 452(7185):370-4. PMID: 18354483.
      View in: PubMed
    22. Ryu KY, Maehr R, Gilchrist CA, Long MA, Bouley DM, Mueller B, Ploegh HL, Kopito RR. The mouse polyubiquitin gene UbC is essential for fetal liver development, cell-cycle progression and stress tolerance. EMBO J. 2007 Jun 6; 26(11):2693-706. PMID: 17491588.
      View in: PubMed
    23. Kumazaki K, Tirosh B, Maehr R, Boes M, Honjo T, Ploegh HL. AID-/-mus-/- mice are agammaglobulinemic and fail to maintain B220-CD138+ plasma cells. J Immunol. 2007 Feb 15; 178(4):2192-203. PMID: 17277124.
      View in: PubMed
    24. Hang HC, Loureiro J, Spooner E, van der Velden AW, Kim YM, Pollington AM, Maehr R, Starnbach MN, Ploegh HL. Mechanism-based probe for the analysis of cathepsin cysteine proteases in living cells. ACS Chem Biol. 2006 Dec 20; 1(11):713-23. PMID: 17184136.
      View in: PubMed
    25. Koch KS, Son KH, Maehr R, Pellicciotta I, Ploegh HL, Zanetti M, Sell S, Leffert HL. Immune-privileged embryonic Swiss mouse STO and STO cell-derived progenitor cells: major histocompatibility complex and cell differentiation antigen expression patterns resemble those of human embryonic stem cell lines. Immunology. 2006 Sep; 119(1):98-115. PMID: 16836618.
      View in: PubMed
    26. Maehr R, Mintern JD, Herman AE, Lennon-Duménil AM, Mathis D, Benoist C, Ploegh HL. Cathepsin L is essential for onset of autoimmune diabetes in NOD mice. J Clin Invest. 2005 Oct; 115(10):2934-43. PMID: 16184198.
      View in: PubMed
    27. Maehr R, Hang HC, Mintern JD, Kim YM, Cuvillier A, Nishimura M, Yamada K, Shirahama-Noda K, Hara-Nishimura I, Ploegh HL. Asparagine endopeptidase is not essential for class II MHC antigen presentation but is required for processing of cathepsin L in mice. J Immunol. 2005 Jun 1; 174(11):7066-74. PMID: 15905550.
      View in: PubMed
    28. Maehr R, Kraus M, Ploegh HL. Mice deficient in invariant-chain and MHC class II exhibit a normal mature B2 cell compartment. Eur J Immunol. 2004 Aug; 34(8):2230-6. PMID: 15259020.
      View in: PubMed
    29. van Swieten PF, Maehr R, van den Nieuwendijk AM, Kessler BM, Reich M, Wong CS, Kalbacher H, Leeuwenburgh MA, Driessen C, van der Marel GA, Ploegh HL, Overkleeft HS. Development of an isotope-coded activity-based probe for the quantitative profiling of cysteine proteases. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2004 Jun 21; 14(12):3131-4. PMID: 15149659.
      View in: PubMed
    30. Schmidt-Supprian M, Tian J, Grant EP, Pasparakis M, Maehr R, Ovaa H, Ploegh HL, Coyle AJ, Rajewsky K. Differential dependence of CD4+CD25+ regulatory and natural killer-like T cells on signals leading to NF-kappaB activation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Mar 30; 101(13):4566-71. PMID: 15070758.
      View in: PubMed
    31. Kocks C, Maehr R, Overkleeft HS, Wang EW, Iyer LK, Lennon-Dumenil AM, Ploegh HL, Kessler BM. Functional proteomics of the active cysteine protease content in Drosophila S2 cells. Mol Cell Proteomics. 2003 Nov; 2(11):1188-97. PMID: 13130081.
      View in: PubMed
    32. Fiebiger E, Maehr R, Villadangos J, Weber E, Erickson A, Bikoff E, Ploegh HL, Lennon-Duménil AM. Invariant chain controls the activity of extracellular cathepsin L. J Exp Med. 2002 Nov 4; 196(9):1263-9. PMID: 12417635.
      View in: PubMed
    33. Vugmeyster Y, Borodovsky A, Maurice MM, Maehr R, Furman MH, Ploegh HL. The ubiquitin-proteasome pathway in thymocyte apoptosis: caspase-dependent processing of the deubiquitinating enzyme USP7 (HAUSP). Mol Immunol. 2002 Nov; 39(7-8):431-41. PMID: 12413694.
      View in: PubMed
    34. Lennon-Duménil AM, Bakker AH, Maehr R, Fiebiger E, Overkleeft HS, Rosemblatt M, Ploegh HL, Lagaudrière-Gesbert C. Analysis of protease activity in live antigen-presenting cells shows regulation of the phagosomal proteolytic contents during dendritic cell activation. J Exp Med. 2002 Aug 19; 196(4):529-40. PMID: 12186844.
      View in: PubMed
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