Christopher R. Paradise

Doctoral thesis research: Epigenetic control of the architectural and trophic functions of mesenchymal stem cells in musculoskeletal tissue regeneration therapies

Research focus

Christopher R. Paradise is pursuing his doctoral degree in biomedical sciences at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, specializing in molecular biology and experimental therapeutics and regenerative medical science. He is conducting his thesis research with Andre J. van Wijnen, Ph.D., in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the Division of Orthopedic Surgery Research at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota.

Christopher's thesis research focuses on understanding the processes that control how and when mesenchymal stem cells differentiate into muscle, bone, fat or cartilage. Regeneration of these tissues would be helpful for many patients, but it is not yet possible to precisely control these stem cells so they generate the needed tissues in the right amounts. Christopher's thesis project focuses on delineating exactly how differentiation is controlled by genes and by epigenetic factors such as histone modifications.

The results of Christopher's thesis work will help show clinicians and scientists how to engineer or instruct mesenchymal stem cells so they appropriately regenerate a patient's bone, muscle or cartilage tissue as needed.


Christopher earned his Bachelor of Arts in biology from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. He then worked for two years as a full-time researcher at Mayo Clinic studying mesenchymal stem cells. During this time, Christopher contributed research results to nine original research papers describing important discoveries about mesenchymal stem cells.

Realizing that he needed to learn more about regenerative science to improve stem cell therapies for patients with musculoskeletal problems, Christopher sought doctoral training in the field and was recruited to Mayo Clinic's doctoral program in 2016.