Advisory Board

Dr. Jeanne F. Loring

Jeanne F. Loring, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus at Scripps Research, Chief Science Officer of Aspen Neuroscience, Scientific Director of Summit for Stem Cell Foundation, Research Fellow of the San Diego Zoo, Adjunct Professor on Human Genetics at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, and Adjunct Professor at Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University.

Aspen Neuroscience is a biotechnology company combining human pluripotent stem cell technology and genomics to develop autologous therapies for cell replacement therapy for neurological disease.

Previously, she was the Professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine, and the founding Director of The Center For Regenerative Medicine at Scripps Research, California Campus. Jeanne moved her research and her laboratory to Aspen Neuroscience in La Jolla, to translate her research into regenerative medicine for people with currently untreatable neurological disease. Their first target is a patient-specific neuron replacement therapy for Parkinson’s disease.

Her research team focuses on large-scale genomic and epigenetic analysis of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), with the goal of ensuring their effectiveness and safety for cell therapy. The lab’s major projects are development of an autologous stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease, developing a stem cell-based treatment for multiple sclerosis, and using disease-specific iPSCs to model and investigate a genetic form of autism, Fragile X Syndrome. In partnership with the San Diego Zoo, Jeanne’s lab is making pluripotent stem cells from endangered species, focusing on the northern white rhinoceros, which has only 2 surviving members.

Jeanne is invested in influencing biotechnology’s scientific and ethical issues. She is a member of Merck Bioethics Advisory Panel (MBAP), Darmstadt, Germany. They are strongly committed to conducting the research on various bioethical topics and issues in an ethical manner and patient’s benefit and well-being, including animal testing and clinical research, stem cell use, the use of genetically modified microorganisms, and the potential impact of new genome editing techniques such as CRISPR/Cas. She also served on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Regulatory and Ethics Board for oversight of their stem cell research grants. She is an author of the Biotechnology and the Ethical Imagination Global Summit consensus report on bioethical guidelines for cellular biotechnologies.

At Summit for Stem Cell Foundation, Jeanne is focused on neuron replacement therapy for Parkinson’s disease. They are in the process of seeking FDA approval for an autologous therapy to replace lost dopamine neurons with neurons derived from individual PD patients’ induced pluripotent stem cells.

At the San Diego Zoo, Jeanne is working on the “Frozen Zoo” project to preserve the cells of threatened species. Her team studies the feasibility of using this frozen genetic material to bring these species back to the wild.

Between 2004 and 2007, Jeanne worked and Codirected the Stem Cell Research Center at The Burnham Institute for Medical Research. In 1998, she founded and was the CSO at Arcos BioSciences. The company was founded to derive human embryonic stem cell lines. Nine of the Arcos derivations were on the hESCs list approved for federal NIH funding by President George W. Bush in 2001.

The Wisconsin Alumni Foundation (WARF) was issued as a patent in 2001 that covered all human and embryonic stem cells, and because of high patent licensing fees, Arcos decided to merge with CyThera in 2003, when then merged with another stem cell company, BresaGen. After another merger with Novocell, the company became ViaCyte, and focused on the development of stem cell-derived therapies for type 1 diabetes.

Jeanne earned her Ph.D. in Developmental Neurobiology in 1979 from the University of Oregon. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Science in Molecular Biology from the University of Washington in 1972.

From 1982, she was Assistant Professor and Lecturer at UC Davis. She lectured courses on Embryology, Neurobiology, and did research on the neural crest. In 1987, she published Neural Crest Cell Migratory Pathways in the Trunk of the Chick Embryo in Developmental Biology vol. 121, issue 1.

Jeanne continued her career as Staff Scientist at Hana Biologics in 1987. She focused on developing cell replacement therapy for Parkinson’s disease and published Survival and function of aggregate cultures of rat fetal dopamine neurons grafted in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease.

In 1989, she became a Senior Scientist at GenPharm International. In 1991, the company’s European operations produced the world’s first transgenic dairy calf, “Herman” the bull, and the company’s U.S. operations demonstrated a key step in the development of the world’s first transgenic mice generating human sequence antibodies (HuMAbs) to various antigens. Read Transgenic mice containing a human heavy chain immunoglobulin gene fragment cloned in a yeast artificial chromosome.

Following her success, she continued as Senior Research Fellow at Molecular Dynamics for two years, between 1995 and 1997. She was using cutting edge imaging technology to develop a new method for quantifying plaques in Alzheimer’s disease brains. Read her High-throughput quantitative histological analysis by a confocal digital microscanner: Application to Alzheimer’s disease pathology.

Before Jeanne founded Arcos in 1998, she became the Senior Director at InCyte Genomics in 1997 until 2001. Following her work there, she published Selectively reduced expression of synaptic plasticity-related genes in APP+PS1 transgenic mice, Complexity of inflammatory responses in endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells determined by microarray analysis, A gene expression profile of Alzheimer’s disease, and Gene expression profile of embryonic stem cells.

Jeanne serves on many scientific advisory boards, Kadimastem (Israel), the Genetics Policy Institute, the NIMH Repository & Genomics Resource (Rutgers), and the Heart Regeneration Program (University of Washington). She served on the Panel on Global Assessment of Stem Cell Engineering (NSF, NIST, and NIH) and the Panel on Review of the Material Measurement Laboratory at the NIST (The National Academies).

She is frequently quoted in major newspapers, appears on television and in documentary features, and gives many public lectures and interviews about science and society.

Jeanne is an advocate for patient education and is particularly concerned with the dangers of unregulated stem cell treatments (“stem cell tourism”). She has frequently spoken out on these subjects including commentaries in ethics journals with bioethicist Mary Devereaux. Watch Concerns About Stem Cell Tourism.

She has also commented on the ethics of stem cell research in articles with ethicist Jonathan Moreno and pro-life advocate Christine Scheller. Read On the Bridge: A Conversation Between a Pro-Lifer and an Embryonic Stem Cell Researcher.

She often guest blogs on the stem cell blog, The Niche, describing her experiences, such as attending an FDA public meeting on Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Read Patients talk stem cells. The FDA listens.

For her outspoken support of patients and advocacy of stem cell research she was awarded the Stem Cell Person of the Year award in 2015 and received the Stem Cell Action Advocacy Award in 2015 from the Genetics Policy Institute, which hosts the World Stem Cell Summit, and won a Stem Cell Pioneer award from Xconomy in 2019.

Read her Spreading the stem cell gospel. Read Wind-down of stem-cell institute leaves a void.

Watch Genomics-based quality control for stem cell therapy: Parkinson’s Disease at SENS Foundation.

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