Stem cell research has been widely studied over the last few years and has attracted increasing attention from researchers in all fields of medicine due to its potential to treat many previously incurable diseases by replacing damaged cells or tissues. As illustrated by hematopoietic stem research, understanding stem cell differentiation at molecular levels is essential for both basic research and for clinical applications of stem cells. Although multiple integrative analyses, such as genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics and proteomics, are required to understand stem cell biology, proteomics has a unique position in stem cell research. For example, several major breakthroughs in HSC research were due to the identification of proteins such as colony-stimulating factors (CSFs) and cell-surface CD molecules. In 2007, the Human Proteome Organization (HUPO) and the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) launched the joint Proteome Biology of Stem Cells Initiative. A systematic proteomics approach to understanding stem cell differentiation will shed new light on stem cell biology and accelerate clinical applications of stem cells.