​​​ Gordon Keller  
Dr. Gordon Keller, PhD

Senior Scientist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Director, McEwen Stem Cell Institute

Dr. Gordon Keller is the Director of the McEwen Stem Cell Institute (formerly the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine), a Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and a Professor in the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto. Dr. Keller is the premier researcher in the application of developmental biology-guided principles to the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) into therapeutically relevant cells, such as cardiomyocytes, hematopoietic cells and liver cells. Using developmentally guided approaches, his lab has successfully generated most of the cell types of the human heart and the human blood cell system from human pluripotent stem cells. His current research efforts are focused on translating these advances to the development of new cell therapies to treat cardiovascular and hematological diseases.

Dr. Keller earned his PhD in Immunology at the University of Alberta in 1979 and completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto in 1983. Following his post-doctoral studies, he became a Member of the Basel Institute for Immunology in Switzerland where he worked for five years, then moved to Vienna, Austria where he accepted the post of Visiting Scientist at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology. In 1990, Dr. Keller moved to the United States, working initially at the National Jewish Centre for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine in Denver, Colorado and then in the Department of Gene and Cell Medicine at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York where he was appointed Director of the Black Family Stem Cell Institute. He returned to Canada in 2006 to assume the position of Director of the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine (now the McEwen Stem Cell Institute) at the University Health Network in Toronto.

Dr. Keller is also a founding Board member of the International Society of Stem Cell Research. In December 2016, Keller was named scientific co-founder of BlueRock Therapeutics, a biotechnology company that is developing pluripotent stem cell-based therapies to treat heart failure and Parkinson's disease. Dr. Keller received the Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell prize in 2019 for his research on the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells and was a co-recipient of the 2021 Scientific Grand Prize from the Lefoulon-Delalande Foundation at the Institut de France for his contributions to our understanding of human cardiovascular development.

Learn more about Dr. Gordon Keller's work on UHN's Behind the Breakthrough podcast.

Notable Achievements

  • UHN Inventor of the Year, 2017
  • Ogawa-Yamanaka Award, Gladstone Institute, November 2019
  • Bloom Burton Award, November 2020
  • Scientific Grand Prize, Institut de France, Lefoulon-Delalande, June 2021

Modeling human multi-lineage heart field development with pluripotent stem cells
Cell Stem Cell. 2022 Sep 1;29(9):1382-1401.e8.
Yang D, Gomez-Garcia J, Funakoshi S, Tran T, Fernandes I, Bader GD, Laflamme MA, Keller G

Generation of mature compact ventricular cardiomyocytes from human pluripotent stem cells
Nature Communications. 2021 May 26;12(1):3155.
Funakoshi S, Fernandes I, Mastikhina O, Wilkinson D, Tran T, Dhahri W, Mazine A, Yang D, Burnett B, Lee J, Protze S, Bader GD, Nunes SS, Laflamme M, Keller G

Therapeutic correction of hemophilia A by transplantation of hPSC-derived liver sinusoidal endothelial cell progenitors
Cell Reports. 2022 Apr 5;39(1):110621.
Gage BK, Merlin S, Olgasi C, Follenzi A, Keller GM

Modeling human yolk sac hematopoiesis with pluripotent stem cells
Journal of Experimental Medicine. 2922 Mar 7; 219(3):e20211924
Atkins MH, Scarfò R, McGrath KE, Yang D, Palis J, Ditadi A, Keller GM

Director: Dr. Gordon Keller

Administrative Assistant: Jonelle Martineau


  • Kelvin Chan Tung
  • Brenda Cohen

Scientific Associates

  • Jamie Kwan
  • Marion Kennedy
  • Mark Gagliardi

Postdoctoral Fellows

  • Blair Gage
  • Vladimir Manchev


  • Nestor Fernandez, PhD Student
  • Ian Fernandes, PhD Student
  • Amine Mazine, PhD Student
  • Gregory Kent, MSc Student

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