What do you get when you combine a renowned medical researcher, an entrepreneur
and an avid fisherman? The answer is Dr. Irving Weissman,
NIA’s 2008 Florence
on Aging. Weissman, director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative
Medicine, the Stanford Cancer Center and the Stanford Ludwig Center for Stem Cell Research, will present “Normal and Neoplastic Stem Cells” on June 18 at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium,
Bldg. 10. The lecture is part of the NIH Director’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series.
A professor of pathology and developmental biology and, by courtesy, of biological sciences
and neurosurgery at Stanford University, Weissman’s research encompasses the biology and evolution of stem cells and progenitor cells, mainly blood-forming and brain-forming. He is also engaged in isolating and characterizing the rare cancer and leukemia stem cells as the only dangerous cells in these malignancies, especially
with human cancers. And, he has a long-term research interest in the phylogeny and developmental
biology of cells that make up the bloodforming
and immune systems. Weissman’s laboratory was first to identify and isolate the blood-forming stem cell from mice and has purified each progenitor in the stages of development
between the stem cells and mature progeny (granulocytes, macrophages, etc.).
As a pioneer in the field of adult stem cell biology,
Weissman co-founded three stem cell companies—
SyStemix in 1988, StemCells in 1996, and Celtrans (now Cellerant), the successor to SyStemix in 2001. He also served as a member of the founding scientific advisory boards for three other companies: Amgen (1981-89), DNAX (1982-1992) and T-Cell Sciences (1988-1992).
At SyStemix, he co-discovered the human hematopoietic stem cell and at StemCells, he co-discovered a human central nervous system stem cell. In addition, the Weissman laboratory has pioneered the study of the genes and proteins
involved in cell adhesion events required for lymphocyte homing to lymphoid organs in vivo, either as a normal function or as events involved in malignant leukemic metastases.
As for his love of fishing, Weissman comes by it naturally having been born and raised in Montana.
Awarded a B.S. degree in pre-med studies
from Montana State College, now Montana State University, in 1960, Weissman received his M.D. from Stanford in 1965.
Weissman is a member of the National Academy
of Sciences where he chaired the panel on the scientific and medical aspects of human cloning. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine, the American Association of Arts and Sciences
and the American Academy of Microbiology. He received an Outstanding Investigator Award from NIH in 1986 and was president of the American Association of Immunologists in 1994.
Among his many honors are the California Scientist of the Year Award, the Association of American Cancer Institutes Distinguished Scientist Award and honorary doctorates from Columbia University and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.
With its 21st annual lecture, NIA honors Florence
Stephenson Mahoney (1899-2002), a woman who tirelessly campaigned for increased federal spending for medical research and steadfastly championed the creation of NIA. The lecture series recognizes her contribution to the health of people worldwide. A reception will follow the talk.