Lab Spotlight: Tamplin Lab

Each month, Simply Blood spotlights a lab contributing to the fields of hematology, immunology, stem cell research, cell and gene therapies, and more. Get to know groups doing cutting edge research from around the world! This month, we are featuring the Tamplin Lab which is based out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States (

How long has your lab been open and who is in your lab currently?
The lab first opened in January 2016 at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and we moved to the University of Wisconsin Madison during the pandemic in 2020. The lab currently has three graduate students, five undergraduates and one research technician.

What is the overarching research goal for your group?
The main research theme is the hematopoietic stem cell microenvironment. We use zebrafish and mouse and models. We are interested in utilizing new technologies through collaboration to apply to our interest in the microenvironment.

What is your lab’s most significant accomplishment?
I am most proud of building a strong track record in training. We have had trainees graduate recently with strong publications. Each trainee who has come through has developed their own interesting and novel story that they have seen through from beginning to end.

What is your philosophy in mentorship and lab leadership and how do you tailor that to levels of training?
I want to encourage confidence and independence. I want trainees to become independent thinkers and scientists. I try to individualize this training to meet each person’s career goals. I like to pair undergraduates with graduate students for hands on training and mentorship in the lab. I like to have the undergraduates involved in projects – not just routine lab tasks. It is important for them to have a larger context for what they are doing. For the graduate students, I really try to develop their independence and confidence in how they can develop and pursue a project from start to finish.

What is the greatest challenge in being a principal investigator?
So far, for me, it was navigating the lab through moving during the pandemic. Now we are back on track and everyone is working well together – we have successfully rebuilt a synergistic team.

Does your lab have any traditions or ways to maintain the lab culture?
We have regular brunches, picnics, or dinners to celebrate birthdays or lab accomplishments. We are competitive in departmental spirit events around holidays – gingerbread house decorating and costume competitions. This helps to foster an inclusive and supportive environment where people are comfortable and trustful.

Where do you see the lab going over the next few years?
I want to continue to recruit great graduate students to continue to mentor their career development. We would like to continue to build the collaborations that enable us to leverage new technologies.

Is there anything else you want the community to know about your lab?
We are continuing efforts on promoting diversity in the department and at UW-Madison. I am involved in the diversity, equity, and inclusion Community of Practice at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health– this works across basic sciences and clinical departments to create a community for individuals from historically underrepresented groups.

How has interacting with ISEH supported your research?
I really like ISEH’s community and networking opportunities. There is a lot of interest in the microenvironment and hematopoietic stem cell biology in the community that helps to foster new collaborations. There are also many opportunities to connect trainees to career development opportunities.

Owen Tamplin, PhD
Department of Cell and Regenerative Biology
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, USA

Blog post contributed by Grant Rowe, MD, PhD (@bloodandtime1), ISEH Publications Committee

Please note that the statements made by Simply Blood authors are their own views and not necessarily the views of ISEH. ISEH disclaims any or all liability arising from any author's statements or materials.


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