Mohamad Khazaei, Ph.D., scientific associate in Dr. Michael Fehlings' lab at Krembil Research Institute, Toronto, is the latest recipient of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine's (SCTM) Young Investigator Award.
Launched in 2013, the award fosters advancements in the field of stem cells and regenerative medicine by honoring a young researcher who is the principal author of an article published in SCTM that, over the course of a year, is deemed to have the most impact.
Dr. Khazaei's work is focused on bringing cell-based strategies into the therapeutic pipeline through generating and differentiating novel cell types using genetic and cell engineering approaches.
His experience traverses the range from human primary or stem cell-based neural cell culture, 3D neuronal cell culture models, and developing neurodegenerative disease models in mammalian cells to direct reprogramming toward neural lineages, developing/improving differentiation protocols for neuroglia lines, using single-cell RNAseq and CRISPR-screening for cell fate determination/modification, and more.
While we currently lack effective regenerative medicine treatment options for spinal cord injuries, Dr. Khazaei's work to create a cell transplantation therapy utilizing neural precursor cells is novel and provides a promising approach."
Anthony Atala, M.D., Editor-in-Chief, STEM CELLS Translational Medicine
Atala is also the director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
In his winning paper, "Human Spinal Oligodendrogenic Neural Progenitor Cells Promote Functional Recovery After Spinal Cord Injury by Axonal Remyelination Following Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury," Dr. Khazaei and his team investigated using neurons and oligodendrocytes to obtain better functional recovery for spinal cord injury.
Their findings move the science one step closer to clinical trial.