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Neurologist to Discuss Pioneering Stem Cell Research

Friday, October 03, 2008

Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Neurology, will discuss his pioneering efforts to use stem cells to treat human disease as part of a lecture series highlighting biological and biomedical research at the University of Rochester.

Goldman will speak at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10, in the Class of 1962 Auditorium at the Medical Center. It’s the latest installment of the “Second Friday Science Social” lecture series geared mainly to faculty, staff and students at the University, though the general public is welcome as well.

Goldman, who is also professor of Neurosurgery, is internationally recognized for advancing our understanding of stem cells and their use to treat human disease. He began his studies of the brain’s stem cells more than 25 years ago, and his doctoral thesis in 1983 was the first report of neurogenesis – the production of new brain cells – in the adult brain and opened the door to the idea of neural stem cells as the source.

Goldman has created new ways to isolate stem cells and then re-create the molecular signals that direct their development as part of research that aims to use the cells to treat a variety of conditions. In studies of both Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, the Goldman team has been able to use stem cells to replenish the exact type of brain cells that are lost in these diseases. Recently his team identified the molecule that causes a rare type of brain tumor known as a neurocytoma – the first time a specific stem cell has been discovered at the root of any specific type of brain cancer.

He also studies rare children’s disorders known as pediatric leukodystrophies and has effectively cured mice of a disease similar to one that is currently untreatable in people. The team hopes to begin a clinical trial of the treatment in sick children within two years.

A native of Philadelphia, Goldman earned his bachelor’s degree with honors in biology and psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, his medical degree at Cornell University, and his doctoral degree at Rockefeller University. From 1988 to 2003 he served on the faculty of Cornell University Medical College. He is the Edward A. and Alma Vollertsen Rykenboer Professor of Neurophysiology Chair.  

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