Susan A. Keirstead, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology (IBP)

Susan A. Keirstead

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-626-2290

Fax 612-624-2436

Office Address:
Stem Cell Institute
MC 2873
2001 SE 6th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Mailing Address:
Stem Cell Institute
2873B (Campus Delivery Code)
2001 6th St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Fellowship, McGill University

PhD, Queen's University (Neurophysiology)



Dr. Keirstead received her Ph.D. in neurophysiology from Queen's University, Kingston, Canada, where she studied the role of neck muscle motoneurons and sensory afferents in the control of head movement in the laboratory of Dr. P. Ken Rose. As a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratories of Dr. M. Rasminsky and Dr. A.J. Aguayo at McGill University, Dr. Keirstead examined the capabilities of retinal neurons to regenerate axons and form functional synaptic connections with central nervous system neurons. Dr. Keirstead came to the University of Minnesota as a research associate in the Department of Physiology where she used calcium imaging techniques to study the regulation of intracellular calcium ion concentration in glial cells by neurotransmitters in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Miller. She continued these studies as an assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology.

Dr. Keirstead is an assistant professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, and the Administrative Co-director and member of the Stem Cell Institute.


Research Summary/Interests

Current research interests include:

1) the functional characterization of stem cells at various stages of differentiation and their functional integration into host tissue after transplantation.

My research involves the use of calcium imaging and electrophysiological techniques to examine the functional characteristics of stem cells in vitro as they differentiate into cells of various tissue types. This system provides a useful model for the development of functional characteristics of neurons and other cells in culture. Furthermore, our functional studies will permit us to better define the optimum degree of differentiation for the successful integration of transplanted stem cells into target tissues of host animals.


Selected Publications

  1. Daughters, R.S., Keirstead, S.A. and Slack, J.M. Transformation of jaw muscle satellite cells to cardiomyocytes.Differentiation. 2017; Jan-Feb 93:58-65. doi: 10.10.16/jdiff.2016.11.003. Epub 2016 Dec 3.
    PMCID: 27918914
    Impact factor 3.69
  2. Lindborg, B.A., Brekke, J.H., Vegoe, A.L., Ulrich, C.B., Haider, K.T., Subramaniam, S., Venhuizen, S.L., Eide, C.R., Orchard, P.J., Chen, W., Wang, Q., Pelaez, F., Scott, C.M., Kokkoli, E., Keirstead, S.A., Dutton, J.R., Tolar, J., O’Brien, T.D. Rapid Induction of Cerebral Organoids from Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells using a Chemically Defined Hydrogel and Defined Cell Culture Medium.Stem Cells Transl Med. 2016; Jul; 5(7): 970-979.PMCID:
    Impact factor 4.25  SK designed and conducted functional calcium imaging studies, prepared and edited portions of the manuscript, reviewed manuscript
  3. Ye, L., Zhang, S., Greder, L., Dutton, J., Keirstead, S.A., Lepley, M., Zhang, L., Kaufman, D., Zhang, J. (2013)Effective cardiac myocyte differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells requires VEGF.PLoS One. 2013; 8:e53764. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053764. Epub 2013 Jan 10.
    PMCID: PMC3542360. Impact factor 3.534
    SK designed and conducted electrophysiological studies, prepared and edited portions of the manuscript, reviewed manuscript
  4. Magli, A., Schnettler, E., Swanson, S.A., Borges, L., Hoffman, K., Stewart, R., Thomson, J.A., Keirstead, S.A. and Perlingeiro, R.C.R. Pax3 and Tbx5 specify whether PDGFR?+ cells assume skeletal or cardiac muscle fate in differentiating ES cells.Stem Cells. 2014; 32: 2072-2083.PMCID: PMC4107161.
    Impact factor 7.133
    SK designed and conducted electrophysiological studies, prepared and edited portions of the manuscript, reviewed manuscript