STEM History:

 Ann Tsukamoto  


Asian American Stem Cell Researcher and Inventor

Birth/Death Dates

Born: July 6, 1952


Ann Tsukamoto co-patented a process that allowed the human stem cell to be isolated in 1991. Her research and contributions in the medical field have led to groundbreaking advancements in stem cell research to help cancer patients.

Educational Background

The University of California San Diego (undergraduate degree)

The University of California Los Angeles (Ph.D. in immunology and microbiology)

Struggles this Innovator Overcame

While Tsukamoto is a pioneer in her field, she is underrepresented for her discoveries. When she first published her discoveries, other scientists did not understand how crucial stem cell research was, so her findings were not considered nearly as transformational as they should have been. Today, stem cells are known to be very important to both medical advancement and science.

Problems this Innovator Solved

Tsukamoto was driven to research and study stem cells to find potential cures for cancer and similar illnesses.

How this inventor changed the world (or at least their corner of it)

In 1991, Ann Tsukamoto and her colleagues made a major medical breakthrough – they could identify and isolate stem cells. This discovery has been vital to medical advancements, including bone marrow transplants to treat blood cancer. Tsukamoto became one of the most prominent scientists researching and studying stem cells because of her intelligence, determination, and hard work.

Lasting changes from this inventor’s work or how they trailblazed

Tsukamoto’s research opened the study of stem cells. What she came to find is the importance of stem cells in the search for a cure for cancer and many other human illnesses. Understanding how stem cells grow and how they might be artificially reproduced is vital to cancer research. Her work led to advancements in comprehending the blood systems of cancer patients and may one day lead to a cure for the disease.