Catch up on our virtual sessions

For now, we still need to keep apart. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn and think together.

Over the past few months, the IRM has been hosting virtual sessions for researchers and students of all ages. Because everyone is on different schedules, we have recorded when possible for future viewing.

Below are some links to our Spring 2020 library of recordings. Thank you to all of the presenters and partners who made these possible. Please contact if you have any questions or ideas for future events. Hope to see you all soon!

Socially Distanced Seminars (SDS)

Want to learn about new techniques or pick up some skills to help your research? Check out our SDS recordings and:


Do you want to learn about STEM careers and biomedical research? Do you, your family, or your class have questions about what it takes to pursue research in college and beyond? IRM@Home is for you! Scroll through our video archive and hear about cutting edge science and science career paths from actual scientists and educators.

On May 27, 2020 we lost stem cell pioneer John Gearhart to cancer. John will be remembered for his historic contributions & record of advoacy.

Remembering John Gearhart

Update (08/13):  A perspective about John’s life and career, authored by IRM Director Ken Zaret and Peter Donovan (UC Irvine), was recently published in Science magazine. The piece can be found on the publication’s website.

On May 27, our colleague and former IRM Director John Gearhart passed away following a long battle with gastric cancer. John was an extremely talented and adventurous scientist, a relentless defender of embryonic stem cell research for the public, and a trusted mentor to the IRM community.

John is best known for leading the research team that first identified and isolated human pluripotent stem cells from primordial germ cells during his time as a Professor at Johns Hopkins. These studies—together with James Thomson’s contemporaneous derivation of pluripotent stem cells from human blastocysts— revolutionized and literally defined what our field could do. Soon after, he became Director of the recently formed IRM, succeeding our co-founders Jon Epstein and Ralph Brinster. I was fortunate to serve as co-Director with John for 5 years and got to know him well.

John’s remarkable scientific achievements were only the beginning of his support for our field. He personally made more than 160 trips to Washington, D.C. to advocate for stem cell research funding. I recall his stories of Congressmen railing against him in public and then approaching him in the hallway afterwards, asking if stem cells could help them or someone in their family. John also never shied away from opportunities to share the importance of stem cell research in the popular press. Though these activities were occasionally risky—John received death threats and needed police protection in the early days of this work—he persevered due to his unwavering confidence in the potential of stem cells.

With one eye always on the future, John strongly promoted efforts to expand the reach of stem cells and regenerative medicine. He was instrumental in founding the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), which now serves many thousands of stem cell scientists from around the world. John also ensured that outreach was a core part of the IRM’s mission and championed initiatives to share our science with the public.

We will all miss John Gearhart dearly.

Ken Zaret

Director, Institute for Regenerative Medicine




Drawing Near While Staying Away: Science Communication & Social Distancing

The spread of COVID-19 has caused dramatic changes in a very short time. Days ago, we were going about our business while things unfolded elsewhere. Now, the pandemic has come to Philadelphia and “social distancing”—remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance from others—is shaping our near future.

It’s stressful!

On top of concerns about loved ones and everyday life, scientists are worried about how these changes will impact everything from ongoing experiments to professional milestones. How can I lab from home!?

There will of course be lots to do in the coming weeks, but let me make a suggestion. Now is a great time to think about why your work matters to others and how to share your story. Social distancing is not a reason to forget why this all of this is important. Quite the opposite!

We are all learning to “flatten the curve” regardless of any background in epidemiology or public health. This is science communication in action!

If you’re an IRM faculty member, postdoc, or student, email me at I’d love to chat in the coming weeks by phone or video conference about your research and ways it might appeal to different audiences.

Let’s use social distancing to find new ways to connect.

Chris Yarosh

Associate Director, Communications & Operations

Penn Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IRM)