Alice F. Tarantal, Ph.D.

Reproductive Sciences and Regenerative Medicine Unit
Unit Leader
Multimodal Imaging Core Lead

Professor and Vice Chair
Translational Research, Department of Pediatrics and Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy, School of Medicine

Director and PI, Nonhuman Primate Testing Center for Evaluation of Somatic Cell Genome Editing Tools

Director, Primate Center for Gene Therapy

Associate Director, UC Davis Stem Cell Program and Director, Translational Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Shared Research Facility

Translational Endeavors and Pilot Programs, UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC)

Dr. Tarantal has a long-standing commitment to providing research opportunities to investigators and trainees and fostering partnerships and collaborations. As Primate Center Unit and Core Leader, she facilitates research and training; and provides new opportunities for investigators at all career stages; promotes the use of the nonhuman primate model for translational preclinical research; ensures investigators nationwide are provided the expertise, models, and resources needed to ensure their success; and serves as a resource for new NIH grants and navigating the regulatory path to investigational new drug (IND) applications. As PI of the Center for Fetal Monkey Gene Transfer for Heart, Lung, and Blood Diseases (since 2001, renamed the Primate Center for Gene Therapy), Dr. Tarantal provided NIH-funded investigators nationwide with opportunities to assess new vector constructs in nonhuman primates that advanced the field. She is Director and PI of the NIH Nonhuman Primate Testing Center for Evaluation of Somatic Cell Genome Editing Tools and a member of the Somatic Cell Genome Editing (SCGE) Consortium. Her research program includes innovative applications of translational in vivo imaging and a focus on fetal/infant models of congenital and acquired diseases; lifespan health; stem cell transplantation, gene therapy, and somatic cell genome editing; regenerative medicine; and ontogeny questions related to early onset of disease. She has extensive expertise in fetal development and organ ontogeny, and has developed innovative models for studying the interaction of immune ontogeny and TORCH agents (e.g., CMV, Zika virus). She has studied human and nonhuman primate stem/progenitor cells from a lifespan perspective and for transplant purposes, and applied a range of innovative transplant protocols adapting in vivo imaging to monitor cell trafficking and fate. Dr. Tarantal is highly integrated with campus wide programs and promotes the importance of nonhuman primates for translational preclinical research at the national level.


Tarantal AF and Nakayama KH. Use of large animal and nonhuman primate models for cell therapy and tissue engineering. In: Tissue Engineering in Regenerative Medicine, Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine series, Springer Science and Business Media DOI: 10.1007/978-1-61779-322-6, Chapter 21, pp. 393-413, 2011.

Tarantal AF, Rainwater J, Wun T, and Berglund L. The U.S. Initiative: Clinical and Translational Science Awards – The UC Davis Perspective. In: (Alving B, Dai K, Chan SHH, editors) Translational Medicine-What, Why, and How: An International Perspective. Transl Res Biomed, Basel, Karger, Volume 3, pp. 18-28, 2013.

Developmental Disorders: A Lifetime Burden of Disease

Dr. Tarantal has been at the forefront in the use of in vivo imaging from seminal contributions in ultrasound to optical imaging and PET/CT. These imaging modalities have transformed translational primate models of human health and disease. She has extensive collaborations nationally, many of which address innovative cell- and gene-based therapies focused on the youngest patients in need.