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Renowned Stem Cell Researcher Jeanne F. Loring Heads New Center at The Scripps Research Institute

LA JOLLA, CA, March 26, 2008—Professor Jeanne F. Loring, Ph.D., has been named founding director of the newly created Center for Regenerative Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.

Loring is an internationally recognized authority in the emerging field of stem cell research, which explores the potential of these cells to differentiate into various cell types that may be used to treat diseases and conditions such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, spinal cord injury, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

"The potential of stem cell research is vast," said Scripps Research President Richard A. Lerner, M.D., in announcing the creation of the new center. "It takes a scientist of Professor Loring's foresight, knowledge, and experience in basic and applied research to lead the institute's team to new discoveries that will significantly benefit human health."

"I am excited about the potential of this new center to push research in the field forward," said Loring. "I'm looking forward to growing the center in the Scripps Research traditions of cross-disciplinary collaboration and cutting-edge science."

Researchers at the Scripps Research Center for Regenerative Medicine will explore many aspects of stem cells, including embryonic, adult, and malignant cancer stem cells, from their basic biology to potential clinical applications in drug discovery, drug delivery, and cell therapy.

The new center's major mission is to provide infrastructure to support collaboration and strategic partnerships in human stem cell research and train the next generation of stem cell scientists. An intensive NIH-sponsored human embryonic stem cell laboratory course will be offered this fall, and the center will be the site of the San Diego area training course supported by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

About Professor Jeanne Loring

Loring has a B.S. in Molecular Biology from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. in Developmental Neurobiology from the University of Oregon. She served on the faculty of the University of California, Davis, and has held research and management positions at biotechnology companies including Hana Biologics, GenPharm International, Molecular Dynamics, and Incyte Genomics, and was founder and chief scientific officer of Arcos BioScience (now part of Novocell). She joined the faculty of the Burnham Institute for Medical Research as a principal investigator in January 2004 and was one of the principal architects of Burnham's successful human embryonic stem cell program. She joined The Scripps Research Institute last October.

Loring served for 10 years as member and chair of the Clinical Neuroscience review committee of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and currently serves on the Review Board of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Council of the Alzheimer's Association and the Regulatory and Ethics Board for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Global Challenge. She was co-director of one of the country's first six NIH-funded Stem Cell Centers, and is director of two of the seven NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Training Courses. She serves as a member of the ISCI (International Stem Cell Initiative), a multinational group that is establishing scientific standards for human embryonic stem cell research, and is a member of the Standards Committee for the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR).

Loring has been working with human embryonic stem cells for nearly a decade and her current research focuses on discovering the molecular basis of their pluripotence and differentiation. A key goal of her research is to discover the key elements that control the unique human embryonic stem cell regulatory molecular network and use this knowledge for improved reprogramming methods for human somatic cells.

In addition to investigating the fundamental biology of human embryonic stem cells, Loring is developing practical applications for these cells for drug discovery, drug delivery, and cell therapy. A major interest of her laboratory is to use stem cells to discover novel therapies for Alzheimer's disease.

In concert with her basic and applied research, Loring is engaged in training the next generation of stem cell scientists. Her book, Human Stem Cell Manual: A Laboratory Guide, published in June 2007, is the first bench-side manual for stem cell researchers. She is also involved in the ethical and legal issues that hinder the progress of human embryonic stem cell research worldwide. She founded the privately funded Stem Cell Community, a website for sharing information about human embryonic stem cell, and advises the Stem Cell Resource, which allows IVF patients to donate their excess embryos to research.  She led the recent challenge to patents that restrict the use of human embryonic stem cells in the United States. 

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute is one of the world's largest independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations, at the forefront of basic biomedical science that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life. Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its discoveries in immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases, and synthetic vaccine development. Established in its current configuration in 1961, it employs approximately 3,000 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, scientific and other technicians, doctoral degree graduate students, and administrative and technical support personnel. Scripps Research is headquartered in La Jolla, California. It also includes Scripps Florida, whose researchers focus on basic biomedical science, drug discovery, and technology development. Currently operating from temporary facilities in Jupiter, Scripps Florida will move to its permanent campus in 2009.


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