Elaine Dzierzak studied biology at the University of Illinois, (USA) and received her PhD in biology from Yale University. She did her postdoctoral training at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (MIT) and was the first to demonstrate the expression of a retrovially transduced therapeutic gene in hematopoietic cells after bone marrow stem cell transplantation. At the National Institute for Medical Research (London), she changed the long-held textbook dogma of the yolk sac origins of the adult hematopoietic system, showing that adult-type HSCs are generated from the embryonic aorta. In 1996 she moved her research group to Erasmus Medical Center (Rotterdam), Dept. of Cell Biology where she is a professor of developmental biology and director of the Erasmus Stem Cell Institute. She is co-director and founder of the master of science program in molecular medicine, a VICI and NIG merit award winner, a member of EMBO and director of the BSIK SCDD consortium. She aims to identify the molecules involved in the generation and expansion of hematopoietic stem cells with long term goals to improve clinical cell replacement therapies for blood-related genetic diseases and leukemias.