Nav: Home

Marius Wernig receives New York Stem Cell Foundation's Robertson Stem Cell Prize

October 14, 2014

NEW YORK, NY (October 14, 2014) - The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) announced today that Marius Wernig, PhD, Associate Professor in the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and the Department of Pathology at Stanford University School of Medicine, is the 2014 recipient of the NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Prize, which has been awarded since 2011 for extraordinary achievements in translational stem cell research by a young scientist.

Dr. Wernig and his team discovered that human skin cells can be converted directly into functional neurons, termed induced neuronal (iN) cells, in a period of four to five weeks with the addition of just four proteins.

"Dr. Wernig's groundbreaking research has the potential to accelerate all research on devastating neurodegenerative diseases," said Susan L. Solomon, CEO and Co-founder of NYSCF. "His work can impact and accelerate research on multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and autism among many other conditions."

At Stanford, Dr. Wernig focuses on using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and iN cells for disease modeling and as potential cellular therapy. This new technique transformed the field of cellular reprogramming by eliminating the need to first create iPS cells, making it easier to generate patient or disease-specific neurons. These cell types hold tremendous therapeutic and translational relevance for patients around the world. Potential applications range from replacing damaged brain tissue to repairing the myelinating nerves lost in multiple sclerosis to identifying novel drugs and treatments for a range of neurological diseases.

In addition to his recent scientific achievements, Dr. Wernig was part of the inaugural class of NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Investigators in 2010, and is the first NYSCF - Robertson Investigator to receive the NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Prize.

"I am delighted that Dr. Wernig is being recognized with this year's NYSCF - Robertson Prize for his important research that has opened entirely new avenues for studying brain diseases. The NYSCF - Robertson Prize was created to acknowledge the most important work being down by young stem cell scientists and I am thrilled to see a NYSCF - Robertson Investigator go on to receive NYSCF - Robertson Prize," said Julian Robertson, whose foundation underwrites the $200,000 prize. The terms of the prize require that the $200,000 stipend be used, at the recipients' discretion, to further support their research.

The NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Prize will be presented to Dr. Wernig at a ceremony in New York City by Susan L. Solomon on October 14th.

The jury that selected Dr. Wernig consisted of Fiona Watt, DPhil, from King's College London in the United Kingdom; Lorenz Studer, MD, Director of the Sloan-Kettering Center for Stem Cell Biology; Irving Weissman, MD, Director of the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at the Stanford School of Medicine; Amy Wagers, PhD and 2013 NYSCF - Robertson Stem Cell Prize recipient from Harvard University; and Gordon Keller, PhD, McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Toronto, Canada.

In addition to his work with iN and iPS cells, Dr. Wernig co-leads a CIRM disease team with the goal of developing an iPS cell-based therapy for epidermolysis bullosa, a rare skin disease. Dr. Wernig received his MD and PhD from the Technical University of Munich. He completed his postdoctoral studies at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Previous recipients of the Robertson Prize include Amy Wagers, PhD, Professor at Harvard University for her work on blood and muscle stem cells; Peter Coffey, DPhil, Director to the London Project to Cure Blindness at University College London for his research on using embryonic stem cells to cure age-related macular degeneration; and Kazutoshi Takahashi, PhD, Lecturer, Center for iPS Cell Research and Application at Kyoto University for his work founding the field of iPS cell research in the laboratory of Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, 2012 Nobel Prize Laureate in Medicine.

In addition to the monetary award, Dr. Wernig will receive an award sculpture designed by celebrated architect Frank Gehry. In 2009, NYSCF honored Gehry with its Humanitarian Award, given to a non-scientist who has been an active advocate of stem cell research.
-end-
About The New York Stem Cell Foundation

The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) is an independent organization founded in 2005 to accelerate cures and better treatments for patients through stem cell research. NYSCF employs over 45 researchers at the NYSCF Research Institute, located in New York, and is an acknowledged world leader in stem cell research and in developing pioneering stem cell technologies, including the NYSCF Global Stem Cell ArrayTM. Additionally, NYSCF supports another 70 researchers at other leading institutions worldwide through its Innovator Programs, including the NYSCF - Druckenmiller Fellowships and the NYSCF - Robertson Investigator Awards. NYSCF focuses on translational research in a model designed to overcome the barriers that slow discovery and replaces silos with collaboration.

NYSCF researchers have achieved several major discoveries in the field, including: the first diploid stem cell line from a patient with type 1 diabetes using somatic cell nuclear transfer in April 2014; the first stem cell-derived beta cell model that accurately reflects the features of a genetic form of diabetes in June 2013; the generation of functional, immune-matched bone substitutes from patients' skin cells (featured in The Wall Street Journal in May 2013); the discovery of a clinical cure to prevent transmission of maternally inherited mitochondrial diseases in December 2012; the derivation of the first-ever patient specific embryonic stem cell line (#1 Medical Breakthrough of 2011 by Time magazine); the discovery of a new way to reprogram stem cells; and, the creation of the first disease model from induced pluripotent stem cells (also named the #1 Medical Breakthrough by Time magazine in 2008). More information is available at http://www.nyscf.org.

New York Stem Cell Foundation

Related Multiple Sclerosis Articles:

Not all multiple sclerosis-like diseases are alike
Scientists say some myelin-damaging disorders have a distinctive pathology that groups them into a unique disease entity.
New therapeutic options for multiple sclerosis in sight
Strategies for treating multiple sclerosis have so far focused primarily on T and B cells.
Diet has an impact on the multiple sclerosis disease course
The short-chain fatty acid propionic acid influences the intestine-mediated immune regulation in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
The gut may be involved in the development of multiple sclerosis
It is incompletely understood which factors in patients with multiple sclerosis act as a trigger for the immune system to attack the brain and spinal cord.
Slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis
Over 77,000 Canadians are living with multiple sclerosis, a disease whose causes still remain unknown.
7T MRI offers new insights into multiple sclerosis
Investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital have completed a new study using 7 Tesla (7T) MRI -- a far more powerful imaging technology -- to further examine LME in MS patients
AAN issues guideline on vaccines and multiple sclerosis
Can a person with multiple sclerosis (MS) get regular vaccines?
How to improve multiple sclerosis therapy
Medications currently used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) can merely reduce relapses during the initial relapsing-remitting phase.
Vaccinations not a risk factor for multiple sclerosis
Data from over 12,000 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients formed the basis of a study by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) which investigated the population's vaccination behavior in relation to MS.
Obesity worsens disability in multiple sclerosis
Obesity is an aggravating factor in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, the most common form of the disease.
More Multiple Sclerosis News and Multiple Sclerosis Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Making Amends
What makes a true apology? What does it mean to make amends for past mistakes? This hour, TED speakers explore how repairing the wrongs of the past is the first step toward healing for the future. Guests include historian and preservationist Brent Leggs, law professor Martha Minow, librarian Dawn Wacek, and playwright V (formerly Eve Ensler).
Now Playing: Science for the People

#566 Is Your Gut Leaking?
This week we're busting the human gut wide open with Dr. Alessio Fasano from the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. Join host Anika Hazra for our discussion separating fact from fiction on the controversial topic of leaky gut syndrome. We cover everything from what causes a leaky gut to interpreting the results of a gut microbiome test! Related links: Center for Celiac Research and Treatment website and their YouTube channel
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.