northeastern university seal
Jonathan Tilly

Jonathan Tilly

Chair and University Distinguished Professor

Mailing Address:

134 MU (Mugar Life Sciences Building), Boston, MA 02111


  • Aging, Germ cell biology, infertility, mitochondrial biology, regenerative medicine, stem cell biology

For over two decades, my laboratory has sought to promote a deeper understanding of the genetic and epigenetic drivers of cell lineage specification, differentiation and death, and to then utilize the information gained from these studies for development of innovative new technologies to improve human health within and across generations. Currently, we have major research efforts directed at defining the role of biomechanics in germline stem cell differentiation, uncovering the developmental switches that govern oocyte formation in fetal versus postnatal life, mapping the mechanisms underlying mitochondrial dynamics during preimplantation embryogenesis and transgenerational mitochondrial inheritance, testing the feasibility of stem cell-based tissue engineering to construct ‘artificial’ organs for regenerative medicine in aging and disease, and mapping the molecular evolution of cell fate trajectory. My research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1994, with much of our work published extensively in top-tier journals including Nature, Cell, Nature GeneticsNature Medicine, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. I am the inventor on 10 issued patents, and have more than 20 other patent applications currently under examination. In 2011, I co-founded OvaScience, Inc., a Massachusetts-based biotech company that focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialization of new treatments for infertility. In 2013, I was named one of the top 12 innovators in science and biotechnology in Massachusetts by the Boston Globe, as well as Champion in Healthcare by the Boston Business Journal. Notably, our research efforts produced a new technology that led to the first baby born with an assist from stem cells—an achievement featured in the May 2015 issue of Time magazine.

Jonathan Tilly in the news


NIH grant helps scientist revolutionize fertility research for over 20 years 

Dr. Jonathan Tilly has been working in research in women’s health and fertility for over 20 years. He has received the support of a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that has been renewed yet again, with the current period extending the grant to a quarter of a century of unbroken funding.  Read on to learn about his past two decades of groundbreaking discoveries.

Reproductive biology: Fertility research brings death of dogma, birth of hope

After eight years of work, a new paper by professor Jonathan Tilly, a reproductive and stem cell biologist, “puts the final nail in the dogma coffin,” toppling a long-held belief about female fertility and ovarian aging. His findings confirm that female mammals make new eggs during adult life, that ovarian stem cells are critical to the process, and that the newly formed eggs contribute directly to maintenance of ovarian function…