Marius Wernig receives New York Stem Cell Foundation’s Robertson Stem Cell Prize

Posted: October 14, 2014 at 3:40 pm

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

14-Oct-2014

Contact: David McKeon DMcKeon@nyscf.org 212-365-7440 New York Stem Cell Foundation @nyscf

NEW YORK, NY (October 14, 2014) The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) announced today that Marius Wernig, PhD, Associate Professor in the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and the Department of Pathology at Stanford University School of Medicine, is the 2014 recipient of the NYSCF Robertson Stem Cell Prize, which has been awarded since 2011 for extraordinary achievements in translational stem cell research by a young scientist.

Dr. Wernig and his team discovered that human skin cells can be converted directly into functional neurons, termed induced neuronal (iN) cells, in a period of four to five weeks with the addition of just four proteins.

"Dr. Wernig's groundbreaking research has the potential to accelerate all research on devastating neurodegenerative diseases," said Susan L. Solomon, CEO and Co-founder of NYSCF. "His work can impact and accelerate research on multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and autism among many other conditions."

At Stanford, Dr. Wernig focuses on using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and iN cells for disease modeling and as potential cellular therapy. This new technique transformed the field of cellular reprogramming by eliminating the need to first create iPS cells, making it easier to generate patient or disease-specific neurons. These cell types hold tremendous therapeutic and translational relevance for patients around the world. Potential applications range from replacing damaged brain tissue to repairing the myelinating nerves lost in multiple sclerosis to identifying novel drugs and treatments for a range of neurological diseases.

In addition to his recent scientific achievements, Dr. Wernig was part of the inaugural class of NYSCF Robertson Stem Cell Investigators in 2010, and is the first NYSCF Robertson Investigator to receive the NYSCF Robertson Stem Cell Prize.

"I am delighted that Dr. Wernig is being recognized with this year's NYSCF Robertson Prize for his important research that has opened entirely new avenues for studying brain diseases. The NYSCF Robertson Prize was created to acknowledge the most important work being down by young stem cell scientists and I am thrilled to see a NYSCF Robertson Investigator go on to receive NYSCF Robertson Prize," said Julian Robertson, whose foundation underwrites the $200,000 prize. The terms of the prize require that the $200,000 stipend be used, at the recipients' discretion, to further support their research.

The NYSCF Robertson Stem Cell Prize will be presented to Dr. Wernig at a ceremony in New York City by Susan L. Solomon on October 14th.

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Marius Wernig receives New York Stem Cell Foundation's Robertson Stem Cell Prize

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