November 30, 2009

Harvard and Stanford Scientists join Salk Institute's Non-Resident Fellows

Salk News

Harvard and Stanford Scientists join Salk Institute’s Non-Resident Fellows

LA JOLLA, CA—The Salk Institute has named two highly accomplished, world-renowned scientists from the stem cell and genomics research fields to join its faculty as Non-Resident Fellows.

Eric S. Lander, founding director of The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and Irving L. Weissman, M.D., director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, join the Salk Institute’s Non-Resident Fellows, a distinguished group of scientists from academic organizations around the world that help benchmark and guide Salk faculty and scientific research programs.

Recently named by President Barack Obama to co-chair the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Dr. Lander, a graduate of Princeton and Oxford universities, was one of the principal leaders of the Human Genome Project. He and his colleagues use these findings to explore the molecular mechanisms underlying the basis of human disease. Over the past 15 years, Dr. Lander and his team have developed many of the key tools and information resources of modern mammalian genomics, and have applied these tools and data to pioneer novel approaches to understand the molecular basis of disease. They have also developed new analytical and laboratory techniques for genomics, which have been applied to a wide range of common diseases, including cancer, diabetes, inflammatory diseases, and many other genetic illnesses.

Dr. Lander has published more than 350 papers in scientific journals. His lengthy list of awards and honors includes: the MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship (1987); the Woodrow Wilson Prize for Public Service from Princeton University (1998); the City of Medicine Award (2001); the Gairdner Foundation International Award of Canada (2002); the AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology (2004). He was also elected a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (1997) and the U.S. Institute of Medicine (1999).

A graduate of Stanford’s School of Medicine, Dr. Weissman also directs Stanford’s National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center, and is the Virginia & D.K. Ludwig Professor for Clinical Investigation in Cancer Research. In 1988, he became the first to isolate stem cells of any kind when he isolated hematopoietic or blood-forming stem cells from mice. He subsequently isolated human hematopoietic stem cells, human neuronal stem cells, and human leukemia stem cells. His work has opened up an entirely new area of scientific research with enormous potential for life-saving therapies.

Dr. Weissman made an exciting step toward the goal of transplanting adult stem cells to create a new immune system for people with autoimmune or genetic blood diseases. As published in the November 2007 issue of Science, his lab found a novel way to transplant new blood-forming stem cells into the bone marrow of mice without the tissue-damaging radiation or chemotherapy usually required, thereby effectively replacing their immune systems.

His numerous awards in research and medicine include the Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Institutes of Health in 1986. Other awards include: The Passano Award (2009); Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2008); Honorary Doctorate from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (2007) and Columbia University (2006); the J. Allyn Taylor International Prize in Medicine (2003); and Election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences (2002), among many others.

“The Salk faculty and I are pleased and honored to welcome Drs. Weissman and Lander as our newest Non-Resident Fellows,” said Institute President William R. Brody. “The Salk Institute’s faculty relies on outstanding research leaders like these to help keep our research on the leading edge of science.”

About the Salk Institute for Biological Studies:

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is one of the world’s preeminent basic research institutions, where internationally renowned faculty probe fundamental life science questions in a unique, collaborative, and creative environment. Focused both on discovery and on mentoring future generations of researchers, Salk scientists make groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of cancer, aging, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cardiovascular disorders by studying neuroscience, genetics, cell and plant biology, and related disciplines.

Faculty achievements have been recognized with numerous honors, including Nobel Prizes and memberships in the National Academy of Sciences. Founded in 1960 by polio vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk, M.D., the Institute is an independent nonprofit organization and architectural landmark.

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