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Human Pluripotent Stem Cells

About the HPSCRO Program

Research with human pluripotent stem cells raises some profound ethical issues that regularly appear in public and political debate.  The U-M Human Pluripotent Stem Cell research compliance program provides oversight of the ethical issues related to the derivation and research use of human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) at the university.  U-M's program is modeled upon recommendations from the National Academies' Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research report.  

HPSCRO Committee

The U-M Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research Oversight (HPSCRO) Committee reviews research experiments with human pluripotent stem cells that:

  • Include derivation of hESC lines and/or human iPSC lines
  • Use already-derived hESC and/or human iPSC lines
  • Are designed or expected to yield gametes (oocytes or sperm)
  • Have the intent to (or potential for) integrate the stem cells into the central nervous system of animals

The committee's work complements review functions of the U-M Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) and the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC) by providing an additional level of coordination and review warranted by the complex issues raised by human pluripotent stem cell research.

See Resources below for HPSCRO Committee Charge, Roster, and more. 

Researcher Roles & Responsibilities

As a U-M investigator, you are expected to comply with the university's policy regarding research with human pluripotent stem cells.  This includes:

  • Applying - for HPSCRO approval prior to deriving and/or beginning work with human pluripotent stems cells 
  • Amending - your HPSCRO record prior to making changes to your approved research (e.g., obtaining stem cells from a new source, changing experiments, etc.)
  • Renewing - your HPSCRO approval prior to the expiration date


You must apply for HPSCRO approval if you plan to:

  • Derive human embryonic stem cell (hESC) or induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines
  • Obtain already-derived hESC or iPSC lines (note: a materials transfer agreement is also required)
  • Conduct research using hESC or iPSC lines (Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on the project)

Prior to implementing any changes to the research as approved in the initial HPSCRO application.  For a list of changes requiring an amendment, see the Amendment & Renewal page.

HPSCRO approvals are valid for three (3) years.  The HPSCRO Committee staff will contact you prior to the expiration of the approval to initiate the renewal process.

If changes occur (e.g., plans to obtain a human pluripotent stem cell line from a new source) within those three years, an amendment must be submitted for HPSCRO approval.  Amendments do not extend the expiration date of the approval.

References and Resources


For questions regarding application, amendments, U-M guidelines and more, email or call (734) 764-7545.