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Bruce Lahn

Bruce Lahn
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materHarvard University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Known forMCPH1
Human Genetics
Human Evolutionary Genetics
Stem Cell Biology
Scientific career
FieldsHuman Evolutionary Genetics
Stem Cell Biology
Tissue Engineering
InstitutionsUniversity of Chicago
Doctoral advisorDavid C. Page

Bruce Lahn is a Chinese-born American geneticist. He is the William B. Graham professor of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago. He is also the founder of the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Tissue Engineering at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China. His previous research specialized in human genetics and evolutionary genetics, especially human sex chromosome evolution and the genetic basis that underlies the evolutionary expansion of the human brain. Lahn's current research interests include stem cell biology and epigenetics.[1] His research on the microcephaly-associated gene, MCPH1, led to the hypothesis that an archaic Homo sapiens lineage such as the Neanderthals might have contributed to the recent development of the human brain.[2] His research also suggested that newly arisen variants of two brain size genes, ASPM and MCPH1, might have been favored by positive natural selection in recent human history.[3] This research provoked controversy due to the finding that the positively selected variants of these genes had spread to higher frequencies in some parts of the world than in others (for ASPM, it is higher in Europe and surrounding regions than other parts of the world; for MCPH1, it is higher outside sub-Saharan Africa than inside).[4] He has advocated the moral position that human genetic diversity should be embraced and celebrated as among humanity's great assets.[5]

Lahn came to the U.S. from China to continue his education in the late 1980s.[6]

Lahn's honors include the Merrill Lynch Forum Global Innovation Award, the TR100 Award from Technology Review,[7] the Burroughs Wellcome Career Award, and a Searle Scholarship.[8] He was also named to the 40-Under-40 list by Crains Chicago Business. Lahn received his B.A. in General Biology from Harvard University and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the lab of David C. Page.[9]

From 2000-2012, Lahn was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute sponsored Investigator.[10]


  1. ^ Lahn's Lab Website Archived May 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Could interbreeding between humans and Neanderthals have led to an enhanced human brain? Howard Hughes Medical Institute, November 6, 2006
  3. ^ Lahn’s analysis of genes indicates human brain continues to evolve
  4. ^ Scientist's Study Of Brain Genes Sparks a Backlash. June 16, 2006. Wall Street Journal. Accessed 2015-04-07.
  5. ^ Let's celebrate human genetic diversity. Nature, October 8, 2009 (Vol. 461, Page 727)
  6. ^ Hopkin, Karen (29 August 2005). "Rebel with a Lab". The Scientist. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  7. ^ Technology Review Bio. (biography) 2013, "MIT Technology Review."
  8. ^ Searle Scholars Bio. (biography) 2009, "Searle Scholars."
  9. ^ UChicago News Profile. (biography) 2015, "UChicago News".
  10. ^ HHMI Investigator Alumni Bio. (biography) 2015, "HHMI".

External links