Dr. Ray Dunn obtained his Ph.D. in Cell Biology in 1999 from Vanderbilt University under the supervision of Brigid Hogan, PhD FRS. His thesis described how the TGF-related growth factor BMP4 controls primordial germ cell formation in the early mammalian embryo. He then completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Elizabeth Robertson, PhD FRS at Harvard University, where he studied the growth factor Nodal and its intracellular effector proteins Smad2 and Smad3 during early axis formation and early germ layer patterning in the mouse. In 2004, he joined ES Cell International Pte Ltd as a Research Scientist in the Diabetes Group, eventually being named Program Manager in 2005. In July 2007, he was appointed as a Principal Investigator in the Institute of Medical Biology and Singapore Stem Cell consortium. His lab continues to be interested in identifying downstream targets of TGF-related signaling and in elaborating its crucial roles both during vertebrate embryonic development and in the directed differentiation of human embryonic stem cells toward the definitive endoderm, the parental lineage of the pancreas. Ultimately, these combined insights inform our attempts to generate functional insulin-secreting beta cells for the treatment of type I diabetes.