As the leading science-based organization dedicated to stem cell research, ISSCR has nearly 4,000 members from more than 65 countries. The organization is committed to promoting stem cell research and its potential to improve human health.
"The opportunity to be in a leadership role for one of the leading voices in the stem cell field offers the chance to do more for the global stem cell community going forward," said Svendsen, who is also the Kerry and Simone Vickar Family Foundation Distinguished Chair in Regenerative Medicine.
Svendsen is a recognized leader in regenerative medicine, and his major interest is modeling and treating human diseases using stem cells. His studies include work on neurodegenerative diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington's disease, spinal muscular atrophy, Parkinson's disease and Allan-Herndon-Dudley syndrome, in addition to women's cancer caused by BRCA1 mutations using induced pluripotent stem cells (or iPSCs).
His laboratory was one of the first to develop an iPSC-based model of neurodegenerative disease, specifically for spinal muscular atrophy. He subsequently has helped initiate several consortiums to model Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease and ALS. Answer ALS, one of the largest disease-modeling consortiums, is making 1,000 patient iPSC lines, differentiating them into motor neurons and performing large-scale omics to discover patient subtypes. In addition, the Svendsen Lab uses microfluidic "organ-on-chip" technology to re-create human multicellular systems for research and drug development. Svendsen is also leading innovative combined gene and stem cell therapy trials for both ALS and retinitis pigmentosa.
"Dr. Svendsen's experience, leadership and insight in regenerative medicine will be a tremendous value to ISSCR," said Jeffrey A. Golden, MD, vice dean of Research and Graduate Education and director of the Burns and Allen Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai. "His knowledge in translating basic stem cell and developmental biology into the clinic will continue to help further advance the field."