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Marius Wernig Awarded the 2018 Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell Prize

Marius Wernig, winner of the 2018 Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell Prize
Wernig was selected for his groundbreaking research in cellular reprogramming and stem cell–based therapies for genetic disease. [Photo: Stanford University]

Marius Wernig, MD, PhD, was announced today as the winner of the 2018 Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell Prize by the Gladstone Institutes. Wernig is an associate professor of pathology at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University.

An illustrious medical scientist, Wernig was selected for innovating direct cellular reprogramming technology and for his contributions to the advancement of therapies for genetic diseases based on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). His groundbreaking research has advanced the development of disease models for neurological diseases and skin disorders.

“Dr. Wernig is a leader in his field with extraordinary accomplishments in stem cell reprogramming,” said Deepak Srivastava, MD, member of the selection committee and president of Gladstone. “His team was the first to develop neuronal cells reprogrammed directly from skin cells. He is now investigating therapeutic gene targeting and cell transplantation–based strategies for diseases with mutations in a single gene.”

The Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell Prize, sponsored by the late Hiro and Betty Ogawa, supports individual researchers conducting groundbreaking work in translational regenerative medicine using reprogrammed cells. It also recognizes the importance of iPSCs, discovered by Gladstone Senior Investigator and Nobel laureate Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD.

“It is a great honor to receive this esteemed prize and be recognized for my work to better understand the multi-faceted components of neurological and genetic diseases,” said Wernig. “My lab’s goal is to discover novel biology using reprogrammed cells that aids in the development of effective treatments.”

Wernig was selected by an independent committee of stem cell experts from a highly competitive pool of nominees. A ceremony will be held on October 15, 2018, at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, California. Wernig will give a scientific lecture and will be presented with the award, along with an unrestricted prize of $150,000 USD.

Register in advance to view the lecture and ceremony streamed live on Gladstone’s website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel.

Marius Wernig is an associate professor of pathology at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University and a member of the Stanford Neurosciences and Cancer Institutes. He graduated with an MD, PhD, from the Technical University of Munich, where he trained in developmental genetics in the laboratory of Rudi Balling. After completing his residency in neuropathology and general pathology at the University of Bonn, he became a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Rudolf Jaenisch at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. Wernig received an NIH Pathway to Independence Award, the Cozzarelli Prize for Outstanding Scientific Excellence from the National Academy of Sciences USA, the Outstanding Investigator Award from the International Society for Stem Cell Research, the New York Stem Cell Foundation Robertson Stem Cell Prize, and more recently has been named an HHMI Faculty Scholar.