Sean J. Morrison Assumes Leadership of the ISSCR Following the Annual Meeting, 24-27 June, Stockholm, Sweden

  • 15 June, 2015
CHICAGO (June 15, 2015) — The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) is pleased to announce Sean J. Morrison, Children’s Research Institute at UT Southwestern Medical Center, as incoming president of the ISSCR board of directors, immediately following the ISSCR’s annual meeting, June 24-27, 2015. Morrison will serve as president for one year and succeeds Rudolf Jaenisch, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and MIT. The role of president elect will be filled by Sally Temple, Neural Stem Cell Institute, and the role of vice president will be filled by Hans Clevers, Hubrecht Institute.

“It is an exciting time to be a stem cell researcher. There are unprecedented opportunities for scientific breakthroughs, as well as new treatments for incurable diseases,” Morrison said. “The field is beginning to deliver on its promise, with many exciting new therapies going into clinical trials. But this research must move forward safely, ethically, and effectively while contending with limited funding for biomedical research and regulatory challenges. The ISSCR will continue to provide a strong international voice for stem cell researchers, working globally to accelerate the science and the development of new therapies. The ISSCR will also be an authoritative and credible resource for policymakers and patients to promote the development of effective policies and the dissemination of safe and effective therapies.”

Morrison has been actively involved with ISSCR since its inception in 2002 and has served in leadership roles on the board of directors or on the executive committee since 2004. He is the director of the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas and is the Mary McDermott Cook Chair in Pediatric Genetics as well as an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His laboratory studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the function of stem cells and cancer cells in the nervous and hematopoietic systems and is particularly interested in the mechanisms that regulate stem cell self-renewal and stem cell aging, as well as the role these mechanisms play in cancer. Morrison received a MERIT Award from the NIH (2009), the American Association of Anatomists Harland Mossman Award (2008), the International Society for Hematology and Stem Cell's McCulloch and Till Award (2007), the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2003), was named to Technology Review Magazine's list of 100 young innovators (2002) and was a Searle Scholar (2000-2003). He has a Ph.D. in immunology from Stanford University.

Temple is the co-founder and scientific director of the Neural Stem Cell Institute in Albany, New York. She discovered that the embryonic mammalian brain contained a rare stem cell, a study published in Nature in 1989. Her group has continued to make pioneering contributions to developmental neuroscience, focused on how neural and retinal stem cells generate the numerous, diverse cells of the central nervous system, and is translating these findings to the clinic. In 2008, Temple was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in recognition of her contributions to neural stem cell research. Temple received her Ph.D. from University College London.

Clevers is a professor at the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and past president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has been a leader in biomedical sciences and the area of Wnt signaling in colon cancer for more than three decades. He and his lab developed tools to identify and track an adult stem cell population able to give rise to the entire lining of the gut and later to demonstrate that these cells can be isolated and grown in culture as ”miniguts.” Clevers received the ISSCR’s McEwen Award for Innovation (2015), the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (2013), the Dutch Josephine Nefkens Prize for Cancer Research and the German Meyenburg Cancer Research Award (2008), the Swiss Louise Jeantet Prize (2004) and the Dutch Spinoza Award (2001). He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Martin Pera, Stem Cells Australia, will become the ISSCR clerk. Hans Schöler, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Masayo Takahashi, RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology and Joanna Wysocka, Stanford University, will join the board of directors for a first term. Continuing their terms are Rudolf Jaenisch (past president), Haifan Lin (treasurer), Timothy Allsopp, Arturo Alvarez-Buylla, Nissim Benvenisty, George Daley, Hongkui Deng, Hideyuki Okano, Kathrin Plath, Austin Smith, Deepak Srivastava, Elly Tanaka, Amy Wagers and Shinya Yamanaka and ex officio members Fred H. Gage, Janet Rossant and Leonard Zon.