Evan Y. Snyder

Sanford Burnham Prebys
Medical Discovery Institute,
UC San Diego School of Medicine,
San Diego, California, USA

Evan Y. Snyder, M.D., Ph.D. is Professor and Program Director of Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research. He is regarded as one of the fathers of the stem cell field, having identified over 2 decades ago that cells that came to be called stem cells were a source of neural plasticity. He was the first to demonstrate that non-hematopoietic stem cells could mediate cell and gene replacement, home to injury, and perform protective, trophic, pro-regenerative, and anti-inflammatory actions. He was the first to isolate human neural stem cells.

Evan earned his M.D. and his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania in 1980. He completed residencies in pediatrics and neurology at Children’s Hospital-Boston and postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School. In 1992, he was appointed an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School and was promoted to assistant professor in 1996. In 2003, he was recruited to the Burnham Institute for Medical Research as professor and director of the Stem Cells and Regeneration program.

He believes the study of stem cell biology will provide insights into many areas: developmental biology, homeostasis in the normal adult, and recovery from injury. Indeed, past and current research has already produced data in these areas that would have been difficult or impossible via any other vehicle. He has engaged in a multidisciplinary approach, simultaneously exploring the basic biology of stem cells, their role throughout the lifetime of an individual, as well as their therapeutic potential.

Taken together, these bodies of knowledge will glean the greatest benefit for scientists and, most importantly, for patients. All of his research to date has been preformed in animal models with the ultimate goal of bringing them to clinical trials as soon as possible. Stem cells offer an intriguing mix of controversy, discovery, and hope. Politicians are charged with dealing with the controversial facets of stem cells, as he prefers to focus his energy on their potential for discovery and hope.