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Scientist Profiles - Donald Phinney

Photo of Donald Phinney
Donald Phinney, Ph.D.
Professor,
Department of Molecular Therapeutics

Dr. Phinney received his bachelor degree in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Vermont and a doctoral degree in biochemistry from Temple University Medical School in Philadelphia.  He then did a post-doc at Fox Chase Cancer Center, where he received an American Cancer Society Fellowship to study the transcriptional regulation of the proto-oncogene junB.  Dr. Phinney then spent nine years at Tulane University, where he advanced through the ranks to Professor of Immunology and Microbiology and Associate Director of Research at the Center for Gene Therapy.  He also served as Director of the Good Manufacturing Facility at Tulane from 2008 to 2009.  He is currently a Professor in the Department of Molecular Therapeutics at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida. Dr. Phinney lives in Jupiter with his wife Regina and two children, Annabelle and Elizabeth.

His current research focus is mesenchymal stem cells resident in adult bone marrow which are characterized by their capacity to generate connective tissues, such as bone, cartilage, and adipose, as well as sustain hematopoiesis and other bone marrow functions via secretion of a large array of cytokines, adhesion molecules, and trophic factors. Research in our laboratory is focused on delineating the molecular and functional complexity inherent to MSC biology and using information gleaned from such studies to develop optimized cellular vectors for treating chronic inflammatory and neuro-degenerative diseases. Currently our focus in the lab is on deciphering the molecular signaling pathways that maintain MSCs in an undifferentiated state, regulate expression of anti-inflammatory proteins, and modulate engraftment and migration of MSCs within the central nervous system. Advances derived from basic scientific investigation are incorporated into design and optimization of cellular vectors to treat inflammatory lung disease and neurodegenerative disorders in both rodent and non-human primate models.

Learn more about the Phinney Lab.