Jeanne Loring named ‘Stem Cell Pioneer of the Year’ in inaugural Xconomy Awards

June 13, 2019

Genomics researcher Jeanne Loring, PhD, professor emeritus at Scripps Research and founding director of the institute’s Center for Regenerative Medicine, was honored as “Stem Cell Pioneer of the Year” at the Xconomy Awards San Diego’s gala.

The award is an acknowledgement of Loring’s groundbreaking work not only in academia but also as co-founder and chief scientific officer of Aspen Neuroscience, a La Jolla-based startup that’s building on her discoveries to create personalized stem cell lines that will help treat Parkinson’s and other diseases.

At Aspen Neuroscience, Loring is expanding the uses of induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, which are which are derived from adult cells such as skin cells and can develop into a variety of tissue types. Loring and her group developed a way to turn iPS cells into neurons that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine—the cells that die in the brains of Parkinson’s patients. She hopes to launch its first clinical trial in 2020 to test its personalized cell therapy.

Loring co-founded Aspen Neuroscience in 2018, but it wasn’t her first startup. In 1998, she launched Acros Biosciences (now Viacyte) to create cell replacement therapies. Over the course of her career, she has served in a variety of industry and academic roles, including with Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Research Institute as co-director of the Stem Cell Research Center and as scientific director of the Summit for Stem Cell Foundation, a nonprofit organization.

She holds a Ph.D. in developmental neurobiology from University of Oregon and a B.S. in molecular biology from University of Washington.

The inaugural Xconomy Awards San Diego celebrates the people, companies and organizations that make San Diego’s life science, health-tech, and medical device communities so innovative. Winners were announced at the May 29 awards gala in La Jolla.

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