Cell Symposia: Using Stem Cells to Model and Treat Human Disease

Speaker

Alan Trounson, CIRM, USA

Fred H. GageB.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. University NSW, Ph.D. Sydney University, Australia; Dr Honoris Causa, Vrije Universiteit Brussels; Hon LLD Monash University

Appointed the Dalgety Postdoctoral Fellow ARC Institute of Biochemistry and Reproductive Biology (1974-6), Cambridge, UK. His research on oocyte and embryo manipulation, embryo freezing and non-surgical methods for embryo transfer in cattle, sheep and other species was commercialized in a $ multi-million industry in cattle embryo transfer and artificial breeding. Joined Professor Carl Wood at Monash University in 1977 to pioneer human in vitro fertilization (IVF) and he and Wood established Monash IVF Pty – 1981. Subsequently he founded IVF Australia/IVF America Inc. in the US 1987 (now IntegraMed Inc.) and co-founded Sydney IVF Pty Ltd 1988.

In the mid-1990’s he led a team to discover human embryonic stem cells and their directed their differentiation into nerve and other tissue cells (published 2000). Appointed Director of the Monash Centre for Early Human Development 1985-2002 and founding Deputy Director/Director of the Institute for Reproductive Biology 1990- 2002. Founded the start-up companies Embryonic Stem Cell International (ESI) Pte (merged with Biotime Inc. 2010) and Maccine Pte.

Founded the first Australian Biotechnology Centre of Excellence - Australian Stem Cell Centre in 2003 ($110 million) and was the founding CEO. He established the Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories (MISCL) 2004-2007 with >200 research and support staff, recognized as one of the world’s leading stem cell research institutes.

In Jan. 2008-present, he was appointed President of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, responsible for the management of the $3 billion fund for stem cell research in California (CIRM). Under his leadership CIRM has constructed 12 new Californian Stem Cell Research Institutes, raising more than $800 Million in donor contributions. These were opened within 2 years of beginning construction. He has developed training programs for new scientists entering stem cell science, drawing a large number if MD-PhD and PhD researchers into the discipline. He established”Bridges” programs that enable students from State Colleges and Universities to train new stem cell courses and to provide 1-2 year fellowships in the major stem cell centers of Californian University and Biotechnology companies. These students from resource-limited environments have proven to be extraordinary success. He has also created awards for high school students to spend summer vacations training in stem cell centers in addition to another discipline (e.g. imaging, engineering, music, ballet physics etc.). These Creativity awards have proven to be very successful and highly sought after. He has overseen and extraordinary development of basic science which has led to more than 1000 publications (24% in high impact factor journals) in peer reviewed journals in the 4 years of his tenure as President. These studies are revolutionizing development and clinical applications of stem cell science. Has globalized the stem cell research program and led the translation of basic science discovery into translation and clinical trials that includes: potential new treatments of blood cancers and solid tumors (3 Phase I already completed and transferred to pharmaceutical companies), spinal cord injury, a cure of HIV/AIDS (based on mutation of the CCR5 gene or shRNA interference), and treatments for macular degeneration (age related blindness), type I diabetes, ALS – motor neuron disease, stroke, heart disease, genetic diseases and neurodegenerative diseases.

He co-founded the Low Cost IVF Foundation (2007) in Switzerland and Friends of Low Cost IVF USA (503(c)(3) - 2011) for the provision of reproductive services to under-resourced populations in Africa and elsewhere. The mission is to educate and empower women for use of safe and effective reproductive health.

Awards include: the Welcome Australia Medal (1991), Patrick Steptoe Memorial Medal (1994), Benjamin Sheares Medal (1995), Barbara Eck Menning Medal (1997), International Academy of Reproductive Medicine Award (1999), Amoroso Award Society of Reproduction and Fertility (2002), Centenary Medal of Australia (2002), Bertarelli Foundation Award (2003), Dr Hon Causa, Vrije Univ Brussels (2003), Honorary Fellow Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (2005), Fellow ad eundem, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (2007), Emeritus Professor, Monash University (2008), Lifetime Medal   Monash University (2008), the David de Kretser Medal (2009), Lifetime membership of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (2010), Dr Laws honis causa Monash University (2011).

Publications: 358 peer reviewed scientific journal articles; 14 books; 103 book chapters; 53 published invited reviews; 6 articles in non-commercial books; 29 news and views articles in major journals; 25 published conference articles.

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