Dr. Ann Kiessling Devotes Full Time to Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation
The Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation has announced that Dr. Ann Kiessling, its award-winning founder and executive director, is stepping down from the Harvard Medical School faculty after 27 years to devote her full attention to the stem cell research and other initiatives of the Foundation.
“My nearly three decades at Harvard have been wonderful, highly productive years for the two areas of NIH-funded research in my laboratory: reproductive biology of eggs and early embryos, and semen transmission of HIV. Being surrounded by highly talented HMS faculty, both clinical and basic science, stimulated our thinking and shortened the timeline to research answers,” said Dr. Kiessling, a nationally recognized pioneer in stem cell and HIV research.
Dr. Kiessling joined the Harvard faculty as associate professor in 1985, first in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology and then in the Department of Surgery.
In the early 1990s, Dr. Kiessling pioneered reproductive options for couples living with HIV disease. These techniques led to the creation of the Bedford Research Foundation, now the Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation, because the research and services cannot be funded by the National Institute of Health. In 2007, the HIV program received the prize of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
In 2000, the Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation began stem cell research with activated, unfertilized human eggs, (“parthenotes”), continuing research that, to this day, cannot be federally funded.
As a privately funded entity, the Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation is able to quickly take advantage of new research discoveries, and conduct experiments not possible with federal dollars. BSCRF research is overseen by an Ethics Advisory Board, a Human Subjects Research Review Board, and an Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee.
“As a senior scientist, I’m excited by the opportunities presented by this nimble foundation. We’re able to incorporate cutting edge research findings faster and we get more research for every dollar we raise than at larger, federally funded institutions. It’s a great place to be in a field that’s growing this quickly. ” states Dr. Kiessling.
Dr. Kiessling is recognized for her discovery of reverse transcriptase activity in human cells, her work with retroviruses, including HIV, her development of protein-free culture medium for eggs and early embryos, her support of parthenote stem cells as valuable therapeutic agents, her development of the first human egg donor program for stem cell research, and the more recent report of the potential importance of circadian oscillators in early embryo development and stem cell culture.
Dr. Kiessling has published over 100 scientific articles, co-authored the only introductory textbook on stem cell biology, “Human Embryonic Stem Cells.”
Dr. Kiessling is the Keynote Speaker at the 2012 New Jersey Stem Cell Symposium on September 19, 2012.
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