Lawrence S.B. Goldstein, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Cellular & Molecular Medicine at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, has been named Director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program.
“Stem cell research is one of the most promising fields of research in medical science today. Dr. Goldstein will lead the university’s cross-campus effort in establishing a stem cell program that will be a model of interdisciplinary research,” said Marye Anne Fox, Chancellor, UC San Diego, in announcing Goldstein’s appointment to the newly created position.
Goldstein has already provided leadership for the stem cell program at UCSD and in establishment
of the San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, the collaborative research consortium announced by UCSD, The Scripps Research Institute, the Burnham Institute and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies last spring.
In addition, Goldstein has served as a national leader in stem cell research and policy, including serving as co-chair of the scientific advisory committee for the campaign to pass California's Proposition 71, a voter-endorsed measure to provide $3 billion in stem cell research funding in California. Goldstein has also appeared on numerous occasions before the California legislature and the U.S. Congress and Senate to testify in support of stem cell research and biomedical research funding.
“The scientific and medical opportunities provided by stem cell research are unprecedented and have the potential to revolutionize research that seeks to find improved treatments for the many terrible diseases for which we currently lack adequate therapies,” said Goldstein.
Goldstein stated his top priority will be working with the San Diego community, and with colleagues at The Scripps Research Institute and the Burnham and Salk Institutes to accelerate and enhance the development of the needed funding support, facilities, and collaborative scientific projects for the San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, which he says has the potential to be the world’s leading stem cell research center.
“I believe that if we can bring our top engineers, physical scientists, ethicists, physicians, mathematicians, computational scientists, and biologists together in shared multi-institutional and interdisciplinary facilities and programs on the Torrey Pines Mesa, then we can dramatically speed the pace of this important research,” Goldstein said.
Goldstein will also be working will be working to integrate stem cell research into the research and educational programs at UC San Diego. He was instrumental in the campus being awarded a $1.2 million grant from The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to train the next generation of stem cell researchers. The program will provide interdisciplinary training in stem cell biology and medicine for 16 scientists—six doctoral students, four postdoctoral fellows and six clinical fellows—enrolled at the School of Medicine, Division of Biological Sciences, Division of Physical Science, Skaggs School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Jacob’s School of Engineering at UCSD, or at the Salk or Burnham Institutes.
“Only by lowering the barriers to entry into this important field, can we attract the very best scientists, ethicists, students, physicians, and fellows to stem cell research,” he said.
“I have committed to making the stem cell initiative one of the highest priorities for this university. I am pleased that Dr. Goldstein has agreed to dedicate his experience and talent to helping us build the UCSD and San Diego stem cell research programs,” said Fox.
Goldstein has been with the UCSD School of Medicine since 1993. A UCSD alumnus, he received his B.A. degree in biology and genetics from UCSD in 1976 and his Ph.D. degree in genetics from the University of Washington, Seattle in 1980. He did postdoctoral research at the University of Colorado at Boulder from 1980 to 1983 and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983-1984. He was assistant, associate and full professor at Harvard University in the Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology from 1984 to 1993, when he moved to UCSD and HHMI. His awards include a Senior Scholar Award from the Ellison Medical Foundation, an American Cancer Society Faculty Research Award, and the Loeb Chair in Natural Sciences when he was at Harvard University. His work is supported by funding from HHMI, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Johns Hopkins ALS Center, ALSA, and the HighQ Foundation.
Goldstein's research is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of movement inside brain cells and how failures in the movement systems may lead to neurodegenerative diseases. His laboratory has discovered important links between transport processes and diseases such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's diseases. Goldstein has had an active role in national science policy, having served on several public scientific advisory committees, in addition to serving as an expert commentator on the issue of stem cell research by print and broadcast media. As a co-founder and consultant of the biotechnology company Cytokinetics, he has also had an active role in private industry where he has gained experience in translating scientific insights to new therapeutic approaches.
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