Clifford D. Folmes, Ph.D.

Photo of Clifford D. Folmes, Ph.D.
  • Research Associate, Stem Cell Metabolism
  • Laboratory of Andre Terzic, M.D., Ph.D., at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  • Hometown: Winnipeg, Canada
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: Mayo Clinic

What sparked your interest in science?

I think it was the idea that I could investigate things that were previously just black boxes that first drew me to science. Whether it's space exploration (my childhood fascination) or more recently understanding complex biological systems, I really like the concept of exploring uncharted territory.

How would you describe your area of expertise?

Emerging evidence indicates that stem cells adhere to the adage "you are what you eat." My research focuses on delineating how cellular metabolism interacts with genetics and epigenetics to regulate stem cell identity, with emphasis on how plasticity in cellular metabolism can fuel nuclear reprogramming and stem cell differentiation.

How will your research improve patient care or impact public health?

Our research will facilitate the identification of novel metabolic targets within tissue-specific stem cells to reduce aging-associated degeneration and elicit tissue rejuvenation.

Mapping stem cell metabolic pathways will also enable targeted derivation of lineage-specific populations for novel regenerative therapies to treat a growing pandemic of aging-associated chronic diseases.

Why did you choose Mayo Clinic to explore research?

The combination of stem cell expertise in the laboratory of Andre Terzic, M.D., Ph.D., and state-of-the-art facilities at Mayo Clinic provided the ideal environment to address the hypothesis that metabolic processes impact stem cell function.

Dr. Terzic has given me the freedom to explore this concept, which has led to significant contributions to this emerging field.

What do you like about living in Minnesota?

Despite being home to the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, Rochester feels like a small town, making it a great place to raise our young children, and I love my seven-minute commute. Being Canadian, the winter months don't bother us, plus we are close enough to our families to visit regularly.