Advisory Board

Professor Hans S. Keirstead

Hans S. Keirstead, Ph.D. is Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology and Professor of Neurological Surgery at Reeve–Irvine Research Center, Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, School of Medicine, University of California at Irvine. He is also Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board at California Stem Cell.
An internationally known stem cell expert, Hans has pioneered a number of efforts in the field. He is Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of California, Irvine, where he led his team of researchers to successfully develop a human embryonic stem cell derived treatment for paralyzed rats. This treatment, sponsored by Geron Corporation, was approved by the FDA for clinical trials in humans with acute spinal injuries and is currently under way. This marks the first human embryonic stem cell trial ever approved in the U.S. Hans also developed developed another therapy, for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, that has successfully met primary endpoints in Phase II clinical trials and, more recently, he made headlines for creating a 3D retina derived from hESCs for the treatment of retinal diseases.
The Canadian-born neuroscientist earned his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. His Ph.D. thesis concerned his invention of a novel method for regenerating damaged spinal cords, and formed the basis of several worldwide patents as well as the formation of a company in 1999. This work constituted the first demonstration of functional regeneration of the injured adult spinal cord, and for his achievements he received the Cameron Award for the best Ph.D. thesis in Canada.
Hans then moved to Cambridge England, where he conducted 4 years of post-doctoral studies at the University of Cambridge furthering his studies of spinal cord injury and beginning studies of multiple sclerosis. He was awarded Canadian and British Fellowships to support this work. He received the distinct honor of election to two senior academic posts, Fellow of the Governing Body of Downing College, and Senate Member of the University of Cambridge, and was the youngest member to be elected to those positions.
In 2000, he joined the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at the University of California, Irvine. The Reeve-Irvine Research Center, founded by the late Christopher Reeve and philanthropist Joan Irvine, is a leading center for spinal cord injury research. Hans directs a large team investigating the cellular biology and treatment of spinal cord trauma, research that also has significance for multiple sclerosis, SMA, and other diseases of the nervous system. In order to bring his treatments to clinical trials, he has founded or partnered with biotechnology companies to fund and conduct pre-clinical and clinical development. In 2005, he was awarded the Distinguished Assistant Professor of UCI Award, the UCI Academic Senate’s highest honor, as well as the UCI Innovation Award for innovative research leading to corporate and clinical development.
Hans has testified at Federal and California Senate Hearings on several occasions regarding the potential of stem cells, is an avid scientific correspondent for public education, is on the Editorial Board of 4 major journals, was an advisor to the California government on stem cell policy, was a Scientific Advisory Committee Member of the California Stem Cell Initiative that authored Proposition 71, and maintains working relationships with several stem cell companies, venture capital groups, and government economic development offices worldwide.
Hans is also Vice Chancellor of Academic Development at UDECOM (University of Community Development, in French) situated in Guinea, Africa. UDECOM grants Bachelors and Ph.D. degrees for community development in rural Africa. He leads several efforts to develop the university and improve the quality of life for those in the surrounding communities.
His papers include Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cell Transplants Remyelinate and Restore Locomotion after Spinal Cord Injury, Neutralization of the Chemokine CXCL10 Reduces Inflammatory Cell Invasion and Demyelination and Improves Neurological Function in a Viral Model of Multiple Sclerosis, Suppression of the onset of myelination extends the permissive period for the functional repair of embryonic spinal cord, Endogenous Neurogenesis Replaces Oligodendrocytes and Astrocytes after Primate Spinal Cord Injury, and Axonal Regeneration and Physiological Activity Following Transection and Immunological Disruption of Myelin within the Hatchling Chick Spinal Cord.
His patents and patent applications include Oligodendrocytes derived from human embryonic stem cells for remyelination and treatment of spinal cord injury, Immunological compositions and methods of use to transiently alter mammalian central nervous system myelin to promote neuronal regeneration, Composition for neuronal regeneration comprising myelin-specific antibodies and complement proteins, and IP-10 antibodies and their uses.
Watch Hans Keirstead, Hans Keirstead: Developing therapies based on embryonic stem cells, and Professor Hans Keirstead’s Presentation Murrayfield Stadium Edinburgh 2011. Read California Stem Cell’s Hans S. Keirstead, Ph.D. One of Six Leading Innovators in the Health Industry. Read his LinkedIn profile.