Organogenesis Scholars Program

Scholars Program News

Richard Auchus

Richard Auchus

Richard Auchus was recruited as the first Organogenesis Scholar to join the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes along with the Endocrine Oncology Program in the Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Auchus also serves as the Director of the MEND Fellowship Program.

Daniel Lucas-Alcaraz

Jason Spence



Daniel Lucas-Alcaraz

Daniel Lucas-Alcaraz, Ph.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine joined the faculty in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology as Assistant Professor on January 1, 2014.  Dr. Lucas-Alcaraz’ research interests will focus on developing a cutting edge research program investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control hematopoietic stem cell homeostasis. 


Jason Spence

Jason Spence was jointly recruited as an Organogenesis Scholar and a Biomedical Sciences Scholar. Dr. Spence is a new investigator who trained with James Wells at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Dr. Spence has pioneered the development of gastrointestinal organoids from embryonic stem cells. Such organoids can be used to examine gut development, study diseases of the gut and as substrates for the generation of bioengineered gastrointestinal tissue. He joins the faculty of the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology. His appointment began as an Assistant Professor in the instructional track on September 1, 2011.


Sunny Wong

Sunny Wong

Sunny Wong was also recruited jointly as an Organogenesis Scholar and a Biomedical Sciences Scholar. Dr. Wong trained with Jeremy Reiter at the University of California, San Francisco, and is using novel approaches to study the role of cilia in tumorigenesis in models of skin cancer as well as the role of hedgehog signaling in wound healing. His work will synergize with the already strong Hedgehog community at Michigan. He joins the Department of Dermatology on December 1, 2011 as an Assistant Professor in the instructional track.


William Rainey

William Rainey

William Rainey was recruited from the Georgia Health Sciences University as the fourth Organogenesis Scholar. He joined the faculty of Molecular & Integrative Physiology as the inaugural Jerome W. Conn Professor on November 1, 2012. Dr. Rainey will play an essential role in the growing adrenal team of the Endocrine Oncology Program of the Comprehensive Cancer Center where he will serve as the Director of Endocrine Neoplasia Basic Research. He wil also hold a joint appointment in the Department of Internal Medicine (Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes). He will also be involved with the Cardiovascular Center given his work in cardiovascular biology. Dr. Rainey is an internationally recognized expert in the area of fetal adrenal development and adrenal tumor formation. He has published more than 160 original peer-reviewed article in top journals in his field, and is currently serving as the Managing Editor of the Americas for the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology.


Jun Wu

Jun Wu

On November 1, 2013, Jun Wu, Ph.D. joined the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology as Assistant Professor and Research Assistant Professor of the Life Sciences Institute.  Jun came from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  She will focus her research on a recently identified form of fat cells called “beige cells”.  Genetic manipulations that create fat cells in mice have strong anti-obesity and anti-diabetic effects.  Further understanding of beige fat biology is required to determine the role of human beige fat in energy expenditure and its value as a potential target for intervention.  The Wu lab aims to elucidate 1) the molecular regulation of beige fat function; 2) the therapeutic potential of human beige fat and 3) the developmental origin of beige precursors.