Headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, WiCell is a supporting organization of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, a world leader in the area of human pluripotent stem cell research. WiCell is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to advance stem cell technologies. The global leader in cell banking, characterization testing and distribution of stem cell lines, WiCell builds on these core strengths by also providing characterization testing for a wide variety of cell types, clinical grade stem cell lines, quality control testing, contract cell banking and long-term LN2 storage services.


The mission of WiCell is to support regenerative medicine and cell and gene therapy by promoting best practices in cell banking and characterization and providing high quality materials and testing services to advance research and clinical applications at UW-Madison and globally.


In 1998, University of Wisconsin researcher Dr. James Thomson succeeded in isolating and culturing human embryonic stem cells for the first time. Recognizing the potential of these unique cells, and aware that regulations surrounding their use in a university setting were unclear, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation established WiCell in 1999 as a safe haven for the advancement of stem cell research in the politically charged environment of the time.    

As a nonprofit research institute, WiCell has consistently worked to advance stem cell technology through research, education and technical support for the scientific community. WiCell established the first comprehensive training program for human embryonic stem (hES) cells that provided instruction to more than 800 scientists from around the globe during its tenure. From 2005 through 2010, WiCell hosted the National Stem Cell Bank, which collected, banked, characterized and distributed the 21 hES cell lines approved for federal funding in the U.S. by then President George W. Bush. WiCell received the highest rating possible from the NIH at the completion of the NIH National Stem Cell Bank contract.  

As advancements in technology led to the derivation of human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, WiCell expanded its cell line offerings to include both iPS and modified cell lines, forming the WiCell Stem Cell Bank. Today, WiCell's Stem Cell Bank is home to a growing number of cell lines offered across a variety of culture platforms. The collection contains cell lines submitted from researchers around the globe and includes the original National Stem Cell Bank lines as well as many modified cell lines useful as research tools.   

 WiCell now offers services developed in conjunction with the Stem Cell Bank to both academic and commercial groups. Established in 2005, WiCell’s characterization laboratory provides genetic testing including GMP compliant testing serviceskaryotyping by G-bandfluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)microarray analysisshort tandem repeat (STR) analysis and mycoplasma testing. Product screening and quality control testing using human pluripotent stem cells also are available through our core laboratory. Additionally, our highly experienced banking and distribution team offers contract cell banking services to outside organizations, as well as long-term liquid nitrogen storage. All offerings are made available on a fee-for-service basis.