International Assessment of Research and Development in Stem Cells Engineering
              

 

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THE PANEL

   
   

Robert M. Nerem (Panel Chair), Georgia Institute of Technology 
 

Robert M. Nerem joined Georgia Tech in 1987 as the Parker H. Petit Distinguished Chair for Engineering in Medicine. He is an Institute Professor and Parker H. Petit Distinguished Chair Emeritus. He currently serves as the Director of the Georgia Tech/Emory Center (GTEC) for Regenerative Medicine, a center established with an NSF - Engineering Research award. He also is a part-time Distinguished Visiting Professor at Chonbuk National University in Korea. He received his Ph.D. in 1964 from Ohio State University and is the author of more than 200 publications. He is a Fellow and was the founding President of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (1992-1994), and he is past President of the Tissue Engineering Society International, the forerunner of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative medicine International Society (TERMIS). In addition, he was the part-time Senior Advisor for Bioengineering in the new National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at the National Institutes of Health (2003-2006). In 1988 Professor Nerem was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and he served on the NAE Council (1998-2004). In 1992 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and in 1998 a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 1994 he was elected a Foreign Member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and in 1998 he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in the United Kingdom. In 2004 he was elected an honorary foreign member of the Japan Society for Medical and Biological Engineering and in 2006 a Foreign Member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences. Professor Nerem holds honorary doctorates from the University of Paris, Imperial College London, and Illinois Institute of Technology. In 2008 he was selected by NAE for the Founders Award. 

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David Schaffer, University of California, Berkeley
 

David Schaffer is a Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering, and Neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley, where he also serves as the Co-Director of the Berkeley Stem Cell Center. He graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering in 1993. Afterward, he attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned his Ph.D. also in Chemical Engineering in 1998 with Professor Doug Lauffenburger. Finally, he did a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Fred Gage at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA before moving to UC Berkeley in 1999. At Berkeley, Dr. Schaffer applies engineering principles to enhance stem cell and gene therapy approaches for neuroregeneration. This work includes mechanistic investigation of stem cell control, as well as molecular evolution and engineering of viral gene delivery vehicles. David Schaffer has received an NSF CAREER Award, Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, Whitaker Foundation Young Investigator Award, and was named a Technology Review Top 100 Innovator. He was also awarded the Biomedical Engineering Society Rita Shaffer Young Investigator Award in 2000, the American Chemical Society BIOT Division Young Investigator Award in 2006, and was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering in 2010.

  

 

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Peter Zandstra , University of Toronto
 

Peter Zandstra, graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering degree from McGill University in the Department of Chemical Engineering, obtained his Ph.D degree from the University of British Columbia in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. Dr. Zandstra holds an academic appointment as a Professor at the University of Toronto's Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering. He is cross appointed with the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry and Medical Genetics. Dr Zandstra is the Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Bioengineering. His Stem Cell Bioengineering Laboratory at the University of Toronto (U of T) is renowned for designing so-called "bioreactors" to grow blood stem cells and increase their yield. Using bioreactors to control the stem cell microenvironment, the team has also been able to grow and differentiate pluripotent stem cells into specialized cells -- offering a potential source of healthy cells and tissues for people with conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

  

 

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Sean Palecek, University of Wisconsin - Madison
 

Sean Palecek is a Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is also affiliated with the Department of Biomedical Engineering, the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center, and WiCell Research Institute. Prof. Palecek received his B.Ch.E. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware, M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from MIT. He is a recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER award. Prof. Palecek's research identifies chemical and mechanical cues that regulate human pluripotent stem cell self-renewal and differentiation, then uses those principles to design culture systems that apply those cues in the appropriate spatial and temporal manner. He has made contributions to human pluripotent stem cell expansion and differentiation to cardiac myocyte, vascular endothelial, and epidermal cell lineages.

  

 

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Todd C. McDevitt, Georgia Tech/Emory University
 

Todd C. McDevitt is an Associate Professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, and a Petit Faculty Fellow of the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience at Georgia Tech. In 2009, Dr. McDevitt was appointed the founding Director of the Stem Cell Engineering Center at Georgia Tech (http://scec.gatech.edu/), an interdisciplinary initiative to advance stem cell translation and enhance stem cell biology research through multi-investigator collaborative efforts. The McDevitt Laboratory for the Engineering of Stem Cell Technologies (http://mcdevitt.bme.gatech.edu/) is focused on developing enabling technologies for the directed differentiation and morphogenesis of stem cells for regenerative medicine therapies and in vitro diagnostic applications. Dr. McDevitt's research program has been supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, American Heart Association and Georgia Research Alliance, among other agencies. Dr. McDevitt graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.) from Duke University in 1997 double majoring in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering and he received the Howard Clark Award for undergraduate research. He received his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Washington in 2001, and conducted post-doctoral research in the Department of Pathology at the University of Washington 2002-04 before starting as an Assistant Professor at Georgia Tech in August 2004. Dr. McDevitt has received several honors, including the Society for Biomaterials Young Investigator Award (2010), the Georgia Tech Junior Faculty Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award (2010), the Petit Institute Interdisciplinary Research and Education Award (2009), and an American Heart Association New Investigator Award (2004).

  

 

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Jeanne Loring, The Scripps Research Institute
 

Jeanne Loring is a professor and the Director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute. Dr. Loring has a B.S. in Molecular Biology and a Ph.D. in Developmental Neurobiology. She was on the faculty of the University of California at Davis, and has held research and management positions at biotechnology companies including Hana Biologics, GenPharm International, Incyte Genomics, and Arcos BioScience. She joined the faculty of Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute as a principal investigator in January 2004 and served as Co-Director of the institute's NIH Exploratory Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Director of the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Training Course. In 2007, Dr. Loring joined The Scripps Research Institute as founding director of the stem cell regenerative medicine program. Dr. Loring's current research focuses on the genomics and epigenomics of human pluripotent stem cells (embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells), with the major goal of ensuring the safety of stem cell therapies and accuracy of models of human disease. Dr. Loring is also developing practical applications for these cells for drug discovery, drug delivery, and cell therapy; she works with collaborators to develop stem cell applications for Alzheimer disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and arthritis, and is using stem cells to investigate the neurodevelopmental disease, autism. To improve the drug development process, her laboratory is building an ethnically diverse cell bank of iPSCs for drug toxicity screening.

  

 

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EXPERT ADVISORS

 

 

Jon A. Rowley, Lonza Biosciences (consultants to panel)
 

Jon A. Rowley is the Director of Cell Therapy R&D and Process Development Services at Lonza Biosciences, responsible for driving technology development and innovation related to commercial scale bioprocessing of therapeutic cell-based products. Jon is heavily involved with the International Society for Cell Therapy as a member of the Commercialization Committee, and is chairing a subcommittee related to Process and Product Development. Jon holds a PhD from the University of Michigan in Biomedical Engineering and has authored over 20 peer reviewed manuscripts and 10 issued or pending patents related to biomaterials development, tissue engineering, and cellular therapy. Jon spent several years at BD as a scientist and R&D manager in a Cell & Tissue Technologies group focused on applying high throughput screening technologies to cell therapy media development and tissue engineering. Jon then contributed to the clinical development of Aastrom Biosciences' Tissue Repair Cell product, where he was Sr Manager of Process Development responsible for manufacturing process improvements and cell delivery to the patient. Jon joined Lonza's Cell Therapy business in March of 2008, and currently resides in Walkersville, MD with his wife and 3 young children.

  

 

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Joseph Gold, Geron Corporation (consultants to panel)
 

Joseph Gold received his Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard and did his post-doctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. Roger Pedersen at UCSF, where he focused on early mammalian development and genomic imprinting. In 1996 he joined Geron Corporation, where he is currently Senior Director of Stem Cell Biology and Research Operations. His early work at Geron focused on devising methods for feeder-free culture of human embryonic stem cells and their genetic modification. Subsequently, he focused on developing methods for their guided differentiation into specific cell types with potential therapeutic applications (cardiomyocytes, b cells, oligodendrocytes, hepatocytes) as well as the development of new assays for the detection and assessment of novel cell types. He also is involved in preclinical animal model studies in which the function and safety of human embryonic stem cell-derived therapies are assessed.
  

 

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Ronald McKay, Lieber Institute for Brain Development (consultants to panel)
 

Ronald McKay received a B.Sc. in 1971 and a Ph.D. in 1974 from University of Edinburgh, where he studied under Edwin Southern examining DNA organization and chromosome structure. He received postdoctoral training at University of Oxford working with Walter Bodmer. In Edinburgh and Oxford, he contributed to the earliest work showing that the tools of molecular biology would make a major contribution to human genetics. In 1978, he moved to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. At Cold Spring Harbor, he was the first to show that specific DNA-protein complexes could be analyzed with antibodies and pioneered the field of molecular neuroscience. Joining the MIT faculty in 1984, Dr. McKay identified neural stem cells as a tool to study brain development and function. In 1993 he joined the NIH as chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at NINDS. In 2010, he became the Scientific Director of the Lieber institute for Brain Development. His laboratory studies pluripotent and somatic stem cells with a particular interest in the development of the nervous system. His research is focused on using the biology of stem cells to understand the genetic basis of human disease and to regenerate injured tissue. He is a founding board member of the International Society of Stem Cell Research. He has served on Scientific Advisory Boards of commercial and academic programs across the world. He is the recipient of the Ernst Schering Prize, the Robert Menzies and Max Delbruck Medals.

 

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