Douglas A. Melton Becomes President of the ISSCR

  • 22 June, 2018

The ISSCR is pleased to announce Douglas A. Melton, PhD, Harvard University, as the incoming president of the ISSCR and its board of directors. Melton assumed the post on 23 June, 2018, immediately following the 16th ISSCR Annual Meeting in Melbourne, Australia.
Doug Melton

Melton, the Xander University Professor at Harvard University, and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, will serve as ISSCR president for one year, succeeding Hans Clevers. The president-elect will be Deepak Srivastava, president of Gladstone Institutes and director of the Roddenberry Stem Cell Center and the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease. He will become president at the end of the 2019 annual meeting in Los Angeles.

“I am honored to be elected president at this important time, as the field of stem cell science is moving rapidly from discoveries on the production and characterization of stem cells to a more practical, applied focus on their use,” said Melton. “While cell types vary for each disease, developing specialized cells and finding ways to transplant them so they survive and function will be a challenge for the stem cell community,” he said. “With a sound, intelligent, and ethical approach to translating this science to medicine, we have the capacity to change the course of human health,” he said.

Melton’s research focuses on finding a treatment for Type 1 diabetes.  His laboratory analyzes the normal development of the pancreas, and the autoimmune attack that leads to Type1 diabetes, to understand how pancreatic beta cells are made and how they become the target of autoimmunity. The primary focus of Melton’s lab is to use human stem cells to make pancreatic islet cells for transplantation into diabetics.

Deepak Srivastava, President of Gladstone Institutes and Director of the Roddenberry Stem Cell Center and Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, is president-elect. His laboratory revealed how cardiac chamber-specific gene networks are established at the transcriptional level and are integrated with signaling pathways. This research used human genetics to demonstrate that a decrease in the levels of some cardiac developmental regulators can cause human cardiac defects. Srivastava has used induced pluripotent stem cells to uncover the mechanisms of disease in patients.

Christine Mummery, Professor of Developmental Biology at Leiden University Medical Centre and chair of the Department of Anatomy and Embryology, has been elected Vice President, and will become president in 2020. Amander Clark, Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology at UCLA, has been elected Clerk for a 3-year term.

New members of the ISSCR board of directors include: Fiona Doetsch, University of Basel, CH, Jane Lebkowski, Regenerative Patch Technologies, US, and Takanori Takebe, Cincinnati Children’s, US. Those ending their terms are: George Q. Daley, Harvard Medical School, US, Austin Smith, Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, UK, Masayo Takahashi, Riken Center for Developmental Biology, JP, and Elly Tanaka, Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, AT.