Dr. Hans Keirstead, associate professor, department
of anatomy & neurobiology, University of California, Irvine, and director, UCI Africa Initiative,
has received the 2010 Mathilde Solowey Lecture Award in the Neurosciences for his pioneering
research on developing stem cell-based therapies for treatment of spinal cord injury and other neurological disorders. The annual award, administered by the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences, honors rising neuroscientists
for innovative research that has significant
translational potential. He will give a lecture titled, “Stem Cell Derivates for the Treatment
of Spinal Cord Injury” on Tuesday, May 18 from noon to 1 p.m. in Lipsett Amphitheater, Bldg. 10.
Keirstead directs a research team investigating the cellular biology and treatment
of spinal cord trauma, research that also has significance for multiple sclerosis
and other diseases of the nervous system. Starting with his graduate work at the University of British Columbia, he developed a novel method for regenerating
damaged spinal cords, which formed the basis of several worldwide patents as well as the formation of a company in 1999 to bring this treatment towards clinical trials. His work focuses on oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells that myelinate nerve axons in the brain and spinal cord. Schwann cell transplantation
after spinal cord injury facilitates regeneration of the nerves. His group has defined many of the factors that facilitate this recovery. He will speak about several therapeutic approaches including the use of human embryonic stem cells committed to the oligodendrocyte fate.
In 2000, Keirstead joined the faculty at the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at the University of California, Irvine. The center, founded by actor Christopher Reeve and philanthropist Joan Irvine, is a leading center for spinal cord injury
research. Keirstead was recently honored with the Distinguished Assistant Professor of UCI Award and the UCI Innovation Award for innovative research leading to corporate and clinical development and was thereafter promoted to associate professor. He is currently co-director of the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center and chairman of the scientific advisory board of California