Advisory Board

Dr. Evan Y. Snyder

The ScienceDaily article Stem Cells Act Through Multiple Mechanisms To Benefit Mice With Neurodegenerative Disease said

Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) hold great promise for benefiting degenerative diseases, and do so by invoking multiple mechanisms. Such cells can be grown in a manner compatible with clinical use (i.e., without animal feeder layers) and even without the need for immunosuppression. These were a few of a number of conclusions arrived at by an international collaboration led by Evan Y. Snyder, M.D., Ph.D., and spearheaded by a member of his lab, Jean-Pyo Lee, Ph.D., of the Burnham Institute for Medical Research (“Burnham”).
“Our studies suggest that functional neuronal replacement can be complemented and, under some conditions, eclipsed by a range of other stem cell actions that nevertheless exert a number of critical stabilizing forces,” said Dr. Snyder, director of Stem Cells and Regeneration at Burnham. “In fact, our study offers the first evidence that stem cells employ multiple mechanisms — not just cell replacement – which collaborate to benefit disease. These findings also raise the possibility – somewhat counter-intuitively — that stem cells may inherently exert an anti-inflammatory influence in degenerative diseases,” said Snyder.

Evan Y. Snyder, M.D., Ph.D. is Professor and Program Director of Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research. He is regarded as one of the fathers of the stem cell field, having identified over 2 decades ago that cells that came to be called stem cells were a source of neural plasticity. He was the first to demonstrate that non-hematopoietic stem cells could mediate cell and gene replacement, home to injury, and perform protective, trophic, pro-regenerative, and anti-inflammatory actions. He was the first to isolate human neural stem cells.
Evan earned his M.D. and his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania in 1980. He completed residencies in pediatrics and neurology at Children’s Hospital-Boston and postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School. In 1992, he was appointed an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School and was promoted to assistant professor in 1996. In 2003, he was recruited to the Burnham Institute for Medical Research as professor and director of the Stem Cells and Regeneration program.
He believes the study of stem cell biology will provide insights into many areas: developmental biology, homeostasis in the normal adult, and recovery from injury. Indeed, past and current research has already produced data in these areas that would have been difficult or impossible via any other vehicle. He has engaged in a multidisciplinary approach, simultaneously exploring the basic biology of stem cells, their role throughout the lifetime of an individual, as well as their therapeutic potential.
Taken together, these bodies of knowledge will glean the greatest benefit for scientists and, most importantly, for patients. All of his research to date has been preformed in animal models with the ultimate goal of bringing them to clinical trials as soon as possible. Stem cells offer an intriguing mix of controversy, discovery, and hope. Politicians are charged with dealing with the controversial facets of stem cells, as he prefers to focus his energy on their potential for discovery and hope.
Evan coauthored Case Files: Neuroscience, Abstract Neural progenitor cell transplantation and imaging in a large animal model, Neural stem cell implantation extends life in Niemann-Pick C1 mice, Behavioral improvement in a primate Parkinson’s model is associated with multiple homeostatic effects of human neural stem cells, Neural stem cells injected into the sound-damaged cochlea migrate throughout the cochlea and express markers of hair cells, supporting cells, and spiral ganglion cells, and Adhesive interactions between human neural stem cells and inflamed human vascular endothelium are mediated by integrins. Read the full list of his publications!
Watch Could Stem Cell Therapy Renew Your Body Cells? Listen to his interview on Stem Cell World. Read Ride For Life: Harvard’s Dr. Evan Snyder to head the “Manhattan Project” of stem-cell research.