Leadership and Key Members

Kathrin Plath, Ph.D.

Kathrin Plath, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Kathrin Plath, Ph.D., seeks to understand how cells progress during development from a pluripotent or uncommitted state to a committed and specific cell type with limited potential.

Her lab is particularly interested in understanding how developmental cues induce changes in the structure of chromatin, the combination of DNA and proteins that makes up chromosomes. She also studies the inherited changes that occur during differentiation of pluripotent cells or are required for reprogramming to pluripotency.

Dr. Plath was one of the first scientists to reprogram mouse and human adult cells into an embryonic stem cell-like state known as induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, a discovery that has broad implications for regenerative medicine. In collaboration with Dr. Bill Lowry and other UCLA stem cell researchers, she is using human iPS cells as a tool for disease studies.

A member of the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center, Dr. Plath is an associate professor of Biological Chemistry. She joined the UCLA faculty in 2006. Born in Germany, Dr. Plath earned her doctorate degree in cell biology from Harvard Medical School and Humboldt University in Berlin, and did her post-doctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco and at the Whitehead Institute at MIT, Cambridge.

Dr. Plath also is affiliated with UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Molecular Biology Institute. She is a member of the publications committee of the International Society for Stem Cell Research and on the editorial board of several journals including Cell. In 2007, Dr. Plath received a New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health, one of only 41 such awards nationwide.

Her work is funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Department of Defense, the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center and the National Institutes of Health.