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Marius Wernig Awarded the 2018 Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell Prize

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—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.

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About Marius Wernig

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 U.S.A., 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 a HHMI Faculty Scholar.

About the Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell Prize

The Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell Prize recognizes individuals whose original translational research has advanced cellular reprogramming technology for regenerative medicine. Supported by the Gladstone Institutes, the prize was established in 2015 through a generous gift from the late Betty and Hiro Ogawa. It honors their memory by continuing the philanthropic legacy they shared during their 46-year marriage. It also recognizes the importance of iPSCs, discovered by Gladstone Senior Investigator and Nobel laureate Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD.

The inaugural prize was presented in 2015 to Masayo Takahashi, MD, PhD, for her trailblazing research that led to the first clinical trial to use iPSCs in humans. The 2016 recipient was Douglas Melton, PhD, for reprogramming human stem cells into insulin-producing beta cells. The 2017 prize was awarded to Lorenz Studer, MD, for his transformative contributions to the field of cellular reprogramming and the application of iPSCs to human disease.

The 2018 selection committee was composed of George Daley, MD, PhD, dean of Harvard Medical School; Hideyuki Okano, MD, PhD, dean of the School of Medicine at Keio University; Deepak Srivastava, MD, president of the Gladstone Institutes and director of the Roddenberry Stem Cell Center at Gladstone; Lorenz Studer, MD, founding director of the Center for Stem Cell Biology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Fiona Watt, FRS FMedSci, director of the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at King's College, London; and Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, senior investigator at Gladstone and director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application at Kyoto University.

About the Gladstone Institutes
To ensure our work does the greatest good, the Gladstone Institutes focuses on conditions with profound medical, economic, and social impact—unsolved diseases. Gladstone is an independent, nonprofit life science research organization that uses visionary science and technology to overcome disease. It has an academic affiliation with the University of California, San Francisco.

Contact Person

Julie Langelier
Direct line: (415) 734-5000