Mark E. Hester, PhD :: Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

Mark E. Hester, PhD

Mark E. Hester, PhD

Center for Perinatal Research
Principal Investigator

Contact Information

700 Children's Drive
Columbus, OH 43205 [ map ]
PH: (614) 355-6805
Email Me


Mark E. Hester, PhD, is a Principal Investigator in the Center for Perinatal Research at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Dr. Hester’s research program focuses on investigating mechanisms of neonatal brain development and injury with the ultimate goal of developing therapeutic strategies to promote regeneration and repair within the damaged central nervous system (CNS). He has a specific interest in understanding mechanisms of white matter injury (WMI), which is the leading cause of neurological impairment in preterm infants and the most common prognostic indicator for cerebral palsy and other cognitive disabilities. Additionally, Dr. Hester is interested in understanding how drugs of abuse impact critical periods of brain development.

View CV »


  • Male

Languages Spoken:

  • English

Research Interests

Research Center:

Areas of Interest:

  • Mark E. Hester, PhD ‘s Lab utilizes a multidisciplinary approach that encompasses neuroscience, stem cell biology, biochemistry and molecular genetics to investigate the dynamic nature of the developing brain both in the context of disease and injury and under normal physiology. Specifically, they employ a variety of tools in their research such as electrophysiology, OMICs-based technologies, stem cell technologies, and rodent models. Recently they have applied human cerebral organoid technology to their research to study mechanisms of human cortical development and to gain mechanistic insight into the molecular features of brain injury. These cerebral organoids are three-dimensional neural tissue constructs, which are derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) and can self-organize to form discrete regions of the human brain including cerebral cortex, choroid plexus, and others, if appropriate differentiation cues are present. They envision these tools will help guide therapeutic strategies to enhance neuroplasticity and repair within the damaged central nervous system (CNS).

Education and Training

Undergraduate School

  • The Ohio State University
    Date Completed: 06/01/1999

Graduate School

  • The Ohio State University
    Date Completed: 06/01/2005

Postdoctoral Training

  • The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital
    Date Completed: 10/01/2011

Postdoctoral Training

  • The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital
    Date Completed: 10/01/2011


  • Center for Perinatal Research

Date of Appointment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital:

  • 12/01/2015

Professional Experience


  • The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Principal Investigator


  • Battelle, Principal Research Scientist


  • Hester ME, Hood AB. "Generation of Cerebral Organoids Derived from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells." "Stem Cell Technologies in Neuroscience. Ed. Evan Snyder, Ed. Ted Teng, Ed. Amit Srivastava. Neuromethods: Springer Protocols, 2016. In press.
  • Graf AE, Lallier SW, Waidyaratne G, Thompson MD, Tipple TE, Hester ME, Trask AJ, Rogers LK. Maternal high fat diet exposure is associated with increased hepcidin levels, decreased myelination, and neurobehavioral changes in male offspring, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 2016. PubMed ID: 27519153
  • Bartling CM1, Hester ME, Bartz J, Heizer E Jr, Faith SA. Next-generation sequencing approach to epigenetic-based tissue source attribution. Electrophoresis. 2014 Nov;35(21-22):3096-101. doi: 10.1002/elps.201400087. Epub 2014 Aug 6.
  • Bornman DM, Hester ME, Schuetter JM, Kasoji MD, Minard-Smith A , Barden CA, Nelson SC, Godbold GD, Baker CH, Yang B, Walther JE, Tornes IE, Yan PS, Rodriguez B, Bundschuh R, Dickens ML, Young BA, and Faith S. Short-read, high-throughput sequencing technology for STR typing. BioTechniques Rapid Dispatches. 2012. Apr; 1-6. PubMed ID: 24981896
  • Miranda CJ, Braun L, Jiang Y, Hester ME, Zhang L, Riolo M, Wang H, Rao M, Altura RA, Kaspar BK. Aging Brain Microenvironment Decreases Hippocampal Neurogenesis Through Wnt-Mediated Survivin Signaling. Aging Cell. 2012. Mar 8. PubMed ID: 22404871
  • Hester ME, Murtha MJ, Song S, Rao M, Miranda CJ, Meyer K, Tian J, Boulting G, Schaffer DV, Zhu MX, Pfaff SL, Gage FH, Kaspar BK. Rapid and Efficient Generation of Functional Motor Neurons From Human Pluripotent Stem Cells Using Gene Delivered Transcription Factor Codes. Mol Ther. 2011. Oct; 19(10):1905-12. PubMed ID: 21772256
  • Haidet-Phillips AM*, Hester ME*, Miranda CJ* (*denotes co-first author), Meyer K, Braun L, Frakes A, Song S, Likhite S, Murtha MJ, Foust KD, Rao M, Eagle A, Kammesheidt A, Christensen A, Mendell JR, Burghes AH, Kaspar BK. Astrocytes from Familial and Sporadic ALS Patients are Toxic to Motor Neurons. Nature Biotechnology. 2011. Aug 10; 29(9):824-8. PubMed ID: 21832997
  • Dodge JC, Treleaven CM, Fidler JA, Hester M, Haidet A, Handy C, Rao M, Eagle A, Matthews JC, Taksir TV, Cheng SH, Shihabuddin LS, Kaspar BK. AAV4 mediated expression of IGF-1 and VEGF within cellular components of the ventricular system improves survival outcome in familial ALS mice. Mol Ther. 2010. Dec; 18(12):2075-84. PubMed ID: 20859261
  • An MC, Lin W, Yang J, Dominguez B, Padgett D, Sugiura Y, Aryal P, Gould TW, Oppenheim RW, Hester ME, Kaspar BK, Ko CP, Lee KF. Acetylcholine negatively regulates development of the neuromuscular junction through distinct cellular mechanisms. PNAS. 2010. Jun 8; 107(23):10702-7. PubMed ID: 20498043
  • Hester ME, Murtha MJ, Kaspar BK. Current Outlook on Huntington’s Disease. Front Neurosci. 2010 May; 4 (1).
  • Hester ME, Foust KD, Kaspar RW, Kaspar BK. AAV as a gene transfer vector for the treatment of neurological disorders: Novel treatment thoughts for ALS. Curr Gene Ther. 2009. Oct;9(5):428-33. PubMed ID: 19860657
  • Hester ME, Song S, Miranda CJ, Eagle A, Schwartz PH, Kaspar BK. Two Factor Reprogramming of Human Neural Stem Cells into Pluripotency. PLoS One. 2009. Sep 18;4(9):e7044. PubMed ID: 19763260
  • Dodge JC, Haidet AM, Yang W, Passini MA, Hester M, Clarke J, Roskelley EM, Treleaven CM, Rizo L, Martin H, Kim SH, Kaspar R, Taksir TV, Griffiths DA, Cheng SH, Shihabuddin LS, Kaspar BK. Delivery of AAV-IGF-1 to the CNS Extends Survival in ALS Mice through Modification of Aberrant Glial Cell Activity. Mol Ther. 2008. Jun;16(6):1056-64. PubMed ID: 18388910
  • Miller TM, Kim SH, Yamanaka K, Hester M, Umapathi P, Arnson H, Rizo L, Mendell JR, Gage FH, Cleveland DW, Kaspar BK. Gene transfer demonstrates that muscle is not a primary target for non-cell-autonomous toxicity in familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. PNAS. 2006. 103: 19546-19551. PubMed ID: 17164329
  • Hester M, Thompson JC, Mills J, Liu Y, El-Hodiri HM, Weinstein M. Smad1 and Smad8 function similarly in central nervous system development. Mol Cell Biol. 2005. Jun;25(11):4683-92. PubMed ID: 15899870
  • Liu Y, Festing MH, Hester M, Thompson JC, Weinstein M. Generation of Novel Conditional and Hypomorphic alleles of the Smad2 gene. Genesis. 2004. Oct; 40(2):118 PubMed ID: 15452874
  • Liu Y, Festing M, Thompson JC, Hester M, Rankin S, El-Hodiri HM, Zorn AM, Weinstein M. Smad2 and Smad3 coordinately regulate craniofacial and endodermal development. Dev Biol. 2004. Jun 15; 270(2):411-26. PubMed ID: 15183723
Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000