Director, Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine; Director, Ludwig Center for Cancer Stem Cell Research at Stanford; Professor of Pathology and of Developmental Biology and, by courtesy, of Neurosurgery and Biology
Irving L. Weissman, M.D., is the Director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and Director of the Stanford Ludwig Center for Cancer Stem Cell Research . Dr. Weissman was a member of the founding Scientific Advisory Boards of Amgen (1981-1989), DNAX (1981-1992), and T-Cell Sciences (1988-1992). He co-founded, was a Director, and chaired the Scientific Advisory Board at SyStemix 1988-1996, StemCells in 1996-present, and Cellerant in 2001-9.
His research encompasses the biology and evolution of stem cells and progenitor cells, mainly blood-forming and brain-forming. He is also engaged in isolating and characterizing the rare cancer and leukemia stem cells as the only dangerous cells in these malignancies, especially with human cancers. He discovered that all cancer stem cells express CD47, the ‘don’t eat me’ signal, to overcome prophagocytic signals that arise during cancer development, and has shown that blocking antibodies to CD47 have therapeutic potential for all tested human cancers. Finally, he has a long-term research interest in the phylogeny and developmental biology of the cells that make up the blood-forming and immune systems. His laboratory was first to identify and isolate the blood-forming stem cell from mice, and has purified each progenitor in the stages of development between the stem cells and mature progeny (granulocytes, macro-phages, etc.). At SyStemix he co-discovered the human hematopoetic stem cell and at StemCells, he co-discovered a human central nervous system stem cell. In addition, the Weissman laboratory has pioneered the study of the genes and proteins involved in cell adhesion events required for lymphocyte homing to lymphoid organs in vivo, either as a normal function or as events involved in malignant leukemic metastases.
Professor Weissman is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy, and the American Association of Arts and Sciences. He has received many awards, including the Kaiser Award for Excellence in Preclinical Teaching, the Pasarow Award in Cancer Research, the California Scientist of the Year, the De Villiers International Achievement Award of the Leukemia Society of America, the Robert Koch Award, the Rosenstiel Award, The max Delbruck Medal,and the Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Award of the National Academy of Sciences. He is also the 2004 New York Academy of Medicine Award for distinguished contributions to biomedical research, and has several honorary doctorates.