John Wagner

McKnight-Presidential Endowed Chair, Division of Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation & Cellular Therapy Program
Faculty, Department of Pediatrics
Co-Director, Center for Translational Medicine
BMT Specialist, Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Center
Program Co-Leader, Transplant Biology and Therapy, Masonic Cancer Center (MCC)
Faculty, Masters Program in Stem Cell Biology


John E. Wagner, MD, is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Blood and Marrow Transplant & Cellular Therapy. He is the Founding Director of the new Institute of Cell, Gene and Immunotherapeutics at the University of Minnesota. Co-Director of the Center for Translational Medicine, and holds two endowed chairs—Children's Cancer Research Fund/Hageboeck Family Chair in Childhood Cancer Research, and the University of Minnesota McKnight-Presidential Chair.
Dr. Wagner's research is focused on the development of novel cell therapies for treatment of life threatening diseases. Examples include the development of regulatory T cells that could be used in the treatment of autoimmunity, organ graft rejection as well as graft-versus-host disease, thymic progenitors to repair damaged immune systems, cardiac myoblasts to reverse heart failure, skeletal myoblasts to repair or replace dystrophic muscle fibers in muscular dystrophy, and expansion of the blood-forming stem cell to speed blood and marrow recovery after high doses of chemotherapy and radiation. Dr. Wagner is best known for his pioneering work on the use of placental/cord blood as a source of stem cells for transplantation – a procedure that has now been performed in more than 50,000 patients worldwide.

Research Summary

Dr. Wagner's research has focused on the development of new treatment approaches for life-threatening diseases for which conventional treatments are unsatisfactory. Dr. Wagner is recognized for pioneering the use of double umbilical cord blood transplantation in adults and embryo selection to insure an HLA matched, healthy child ('savior sibling') for another child in need of transplant. He is also a leader in the use of regulatory T cells to prevent rejection and graft versus host disease, expanded blood forming stem cells to speed blood and marrow recovery, novel conditioning regimens to dramatically increase the chance of cure of patients with Fanconi anemia and bone marrow derived stem cells to repair the skin in severely affected children with Epidermolysis Bullosa.

1. Umbilical Cord Blood Transplantation in Children and Adults
Ex vivo expansion of hematopoietic stem cells
Double unit transplantation
Non-myeloablative preparative therapies
Co-infusion of T-regulatory cells
Graft vs. Leukemia Effector Therapies

2. Fanconi anemia
Novel preparative therapies
Gene therapy - multipotent adult stem cell
Phenotype-genotype correlations (collaboration with Rockefeller University)

3. Multipotent Adult Stem Cells (MAPC) in tissue repair
Translational development/large scale manufacture of MAPC
Evaluation of MAPC therapeutic potential in congenital and acquired disorders


MD, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, PA

Fellowships, Residencies, and Visiting Engagements

Residency in Pediatrics,
Duke University
Durham, North Carolina, United States
Fellowship in Hematology/Oncology,
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Licensures and Certifications

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, American Board of Pediatrics
Pediatrics, American Board of Pediatrics

Honors and Recognition

Inaugural Dean’s Distinguished Lecture at the 125th Anniversary, University of Minnesota Medical School
Best Doctors in America
Castle Connolly "Top Doctor"
Lifetime Achievement Award, Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium
Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine "Top Doctor", Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine



Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation & Cellular Therapy
Mayo Mail Code 366
420 Delaware Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Administrative Contact

Joyce Selle
Administrative Phone: 612-625-7117
Administrative Email:
Administrative Fax Number: 612-626-4074