Daniel Besser studied biology at the Freie Universität Berlin and obtained his diploma in 1990. He received his PhD in 1996 from the university of Basel with a thesis from the Friedrich-Miescher-Institute, Basel on signal transduction in the gene regulation of urokinase-type plasminogen activator. He worked at Rockefeller University, New York until 2004 in the laboratories of Hidesaburo Hanafusa and James E. Darnell on Stat3 signaling and the function of c-Src; and from 2002 on pluripotency in embryonic stem cells in the lab of Ali H. Brivanlou. He has been leader of a research group at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin until 2011 focusing his research on signal transduction mechanisms in human and murine embryonic stem cells.
Since 2012 he is managing director of the German Stem Cell Network (GSCN). The German Stem Cell Network (GSCN) is a network association established by a founding committee of 12 German stem cell researchers from universities and research institutes in May 7th, 2013 in Berlin. The network aims to strengthen the basic and applied stem cell research in Germany and is supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research with initial funding. The central office is located at the MDC in Berlin-Buch.