Leading stem-cell expert to join Stanford Medicine faculty …

Posted: June 6, 2014 at 5:49 pm

JUNE 5, 2014

BY ERIN DIGITALE

Maria Grazia Roncarolo

Maria Grazia Roncarolo, MD, a stem cell and gene therapy expert and former scientific director of the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, Italy, is joining the Stanford University School of Medicine as a professor of pediatrics.

Roncarolo has been recruited to lead the schools efforts to translate basic scientific discoveries in the field of regenerative medicine into novel patient therapies, including treatments based on stem cells and gene therapy. My biggest goal is to build an infrastructure and assemble a team of world-class physician-scientists who can take full advantage of the tremendous discovery and knowledge generated at Stanford in order to transfer those into the clinic, she said.

Roncarolo begins June 15 as chief of the newly created Division of Pediatric Translational and Regenerative Medicine within the Department of Pediatrics, and as a pediatric immunologist at Lucile Packard Childrens Hospital Stanford. She will also co-direct Stanfords Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine.

Dr. Roncarolo is a world leader in stem cell and gene therapies, said Hugh OBrodovich, MD, professor and chair of pediatrics, and director of the Child Health Research Institute at Stanford. Under her direction, the San Raffaele Scientific Institute has been seminal in showing that these therapies can actually work. Being able to bring her here to Stanford to translate our discoveries into therapies for patients at one of the best childrens hospitals is a perfect match. OBrodovich is also the Adalyn Jay Physician-in-Chief at Lucile Packard Childrens Hospital Stanford.

Stanford is the only institution in the world that has the antibodies required to purify human blood-forming stem cells, giving it a unique advantage in the quest to develop stem-cell-based medical treatments. Roncarolo, meanwhile, has brought many basic-science discoveries in this field to patients. She holds eight patents and has six pending for methods used in cell and gene therapies. She has published more than 280 scientific papers and 22 book chapters. Her publications have been cited more than 19,000 times.

No single person has done as much as she in this field, or as successfully, said Irving Weissman, MD, professor of pathology and of developmental biology, and director of Stanfords Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Roncarolo will join Michael Longaker, MD, professor of surgery, as a co-director of the institute.

We are very excited that Maria Grazia is joining our faculty, said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine. She is an outstanding basic scientist and translational researcher, and a highly knowledgeable institutional leader. She will be a tremendous asset to our team.

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