Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte has been recognized with the 2022 Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell Award, a prestigious distinction awarded by the Gladstone Institutes (California), in the field of Regenerative Medicine, for his innovations in the field of cellular reprogramming and rejuvenation , which can be applied to improve aging and cure diseases associated with it. His research team, which includes several UCAM researchers, discovered that cell reprogramming can restore the biological clock of aging, thus allowing the regeneration and rejuvenation of organs, the improvement of diseases associated with aging and the increase in healthy life in mammals. In 2018, TIME magazine included Izpisua Belmonte in its list of the 50 most influential leaders in the field of health for his research on the growth and regeneration of human organs, derived from projects promoted and financed by the UCAM. The award, which has the support of Gladstone and the Cell Press group, will be delivered next November in the United States.
“We are pleased to award this year’s award to Dr. Izpisua Belmonte,” said Dr. Deepak Srivastava, Selection Committee Member and President of Gladstone. “Aging is one of the most significant challenges facing the world today and is a major risk factor for many of today’s unresolved diseases that Gladstone researchers are working to address. The work of Dr. Izpisua Belmonte could lead to new therapies for age-related diseases, thus promoting healthy aging.”
The Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell Award was created in 2015 through a generous donation from the late Hiro and Betty Ogawa. With the creation of this award, the Ogawa family intended to motivate and support scientists or doctors who carry out innovative work in translational regenerative medicine with reprogrammed cells.
“It is a privilege and an honor to receive the Ogawa-Yamanaka award for my research on new models for the generation and regeneration of human organs from stem cells,” says Izpisua Belmonte. “I am deeply honored that our work on epigenetic and gene editing, as well as stem cell and regenerative techniques, is helping to better understand how to program and regenerate cellular function. It is my hope that, when combined with the work of many other researchers, restoring cell function through reprogramming will contribute to the elimination of many diseases and improve human health.”
For almost 30 years, Izpisua Belmonte was part of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, reaching the rank of professor in the Genetic Expression Laboratory and occupying the Roger Guillemin Chair. He graduated in Pharmacy from the University of Valencia and received his doctorate in Biochemistry and Pharmacology from the Universities of Bologna and Valencia. After several postdoctoral stays at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg (Germany) and at the Los Angeles University in California, he joined the Salk Institute in 1993. Later he was also director of the Barcelona Center for Regenerative Medicine.
Izpisua Belmonte was selected by an independent committee of international stem cell experts from a highly competitive pool of candidates. On November 17, 2022, a ceremony will be held at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, California, during which he will deliver a lecture and the award will be presented to him, along with a prize of $150,000.
About Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte
Biochemist and developmental biologist, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, PhD, extraordinary professor of Developmental Biology and honorary doctorate from the Catholic University of Murcia, is currently director of the San Diego Institute of Sciences of Altos Labs, a life sciences company focused on restoring the health and resistance of cells to aging through cell reprogramming. Previously, he was holder of the Roger Guillemin Chair and professor at the Gene Expression Laboratory of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, as well as director of the Barcelona Center for Regenerative Medicine.
He has a degree in Pharmacy from the University of Valencia and a doctorate in Biochemistry and Pharmacology from the Universities of Bologna and Valencia. He completed his postdoctoral training at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg (Germany) and at the University of Los Angeles in California.
During his time at Salk, Izpisua Belmonte has pioneered innovations in developmental biology, organ and tissue regeneration, and aging research. At Altos Labs, he is developing technologies to reprogram cells to stages similar to those observed in the early and healthy stages of human life, with the goal of discovering universal therapies to restore cell function, overcome frailty and human disease, and, ultimately prolong the duration of health.
Throughout his career, Izpisua Belmonte has published more than 500 scientific articles. He was named one of the 50 most influential people in the field of health in 2018 by TIME magazine, and has received several awards and recognitions for his research career, including medals from the Royal Academy of Pharmacy of Spain and the Royal Spanish Academy of Medicine, the Gold Medal from the Junta de Castilla-La Mancha, several honorary doctorates, the NSF Creativity Award, the NIH Pioneer Award, and the President William Clinton Lifetime Achievement Award.
About the Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell Award
The Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell Award recognizes individuals whose original translational research has markedly advanced cell reprogramming technology and regenerative medicine. Supported by the Gladstone Institutes, in association with the Cell Press group, the prize was established in 2015 through a generous donation from the late Betty and Hiro Ogawa and has been maintained through their sons, Andrew and Marcus Ogawa. Honor the memory of the Ogawas by continuing the philanthropic legacy they shared during their 46-year marriage. It also acknowledges the importance of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), discovered by Gladstone principal investigator and Nobel laureate Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD.
Previous honorees include Masayo Takahashi, MD, PhD, in 2015; Douglas Melton, PhD, in 2016; Lorenz Studer, MD, PhD, in 2017; Marius Wernig, MD, PhD, in 2018; and Gordon Keller, PhD, in 2019.
The 2022 selection committee consisted of George Daley, MD, PhD, Dean of Harvard Medical School; Hideyuki Okano, MD, PhD, dean of the Keio University School of Medicine; Deepak Srivastava, MD, president of the Gladstone Institutes and director of the Roddenberry Stem Cell Center at Gladstone; Lorenz Studer, MD, director of the Center for Stem Cell Biology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Fiona Watt, FRS, FMedSci, director of the Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine at King’s College London; and Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, Gladstone Principal Investigator and Professor at the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application at Kyoto University.
About the Gladstone Institutes
To ensure that their work is of great benefit to humanity, the Gladstone Institutes focus on research with profound medical, economic and social impact: unresolved diseases. Gladstone is an independent, not-for-profit life sciences research organization that uses forward-thinking science and technology to cure disease. It has academic affiliation with the University of California, San Francisco.
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