Stem Cell Agency Helps Stanford Recruit World Renowned Expert

San Francisco, CA – One of the world’s leading stem cell biologists, Dr. Hiromitsu Nakauchi, is joining Stanford University thanks to a $6.15 million dollar Research Leadership Award from the stem cell agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

“Dr Nakauchi is an extraordinary talent, I think he is one of the most accomplished scientists that I have ever met,” says Alan Trounson, President of the stem cell agency. “He has already changed the world with his work on hematopoietic (blood) stem cells and will be joining the prestigious Stanford University to explore the use of pluripotent stem cells to target and destroy cancer and dangerous infections, to generate new blood forming cells for patients from pluripotent stem cells, and to explore the possibility of developing organs for transplantation using a remarkably innovative developmental approach.”

Dr. Nakauchi is currently a Professor of Stem Cell Therapy at the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Tokyo (IMSUT).  In 2008, he was appointed as a director of newly established Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in IMSUT. His work has focused on clarifying the mechanism of stem cell self-renewal.

“We are very excited to be bringing Dr. Nakauchi to Stanford,” said Dr. Irving Weissman, director of Stanford University’s stem cell institute and a professor of pathology and of developmental biology. “He is one of the world’s leading stem cell scientists. His recent discoveries that tissues and organs can be developed from pluripotent stem cells of one species in the body of an animal of another species promise an important path to using stem cell biology to advance human regenerative medicine.”

This will be Dr. Nakauchi’s second time at Stanford. The first time around he had worked to isolate genes involved with the immune system in the laboratory of the late Leonard Herzenberg. “I am excited to be joining Stanford.,” said Dr. Nakauchi. “I was a post-doctoral fellow there so I feel like I’m coming home. It’s an amazing place and I’m very much looking forward to going back and working with the world-class researchers and scientists there.”

Dr. Trounson says Dr. Nakauchi’s recruitment is something of a coup for Stanford: “It is going to considerably enhance our capacity to deliver the remarkable potential of stem cell science to have him working together with the Californian stem cell research community. I look forward to the outcomes of his research, as will the patients who are awaiting the delivery of these new therapies.”

The stem cell agency’s Research Leadership Awards were created to help California universities and research institutions recruit the very best stem cell scientists in the world. These awards have so far helped California institutions recruit five other senior scientists to the state.

About CIRM: CIRM was established in November 2004 with the passage of Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act. The statewide ballot measure, which provided $3 billion in funding for stem cell research at California universities and research institutions, was overwhelmingly approved by voters, and called for the establishment of an entity to make grants and provide loans for stem cell research, research facilities, and other vital research.

Kevin McCormack