Awardee 2007

Irving L. Weissman

for his outraging achievements in stemm cell research

Irving Weissman was born in October 1939 in Great Falls, Montana. He has five children. Irving Weissman started to study Zoology at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire in 1957 and then went on to pre-med education at Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana.
He then graduated in medicine at Stanford, California, in 1965 and spent an apparently very decisive postdoctoral stay in Jim Gowan’s laboratory at Oxford, UK, followed by another postdoctoral period in Henry Kaplan’s laboratory at Stanford where he has continued to work until now, going through the ranks of Research Associate, Assistant and Associate Professor of Pathology, before becoming Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Developmental Pathology as well as in the Division of Neurosurgery and the Department of Medicine, and finally as the Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Centre as mentioned above.
In 1989, he was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences and in the same year gave the prestigious Harvey Lecture. In 1990, he was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science, an association that reflects the idea that culture consists of both the arts and sciences, a fact most politicians are not yet completely aware of, at least in our country. In 2002, Irving Weissman was awarded the title of the Californian Scientist of the year. In the same year, he was elected a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2006 he received an honorary doctorate from Columbia University, New York, and now in 2007 the Ilse and Helmut Wachter-Prize will appear on top of this impressive list of awards. As expected, Irving Weissman is a member of many professional societies. In addition to the already mentioned AAI, he belongs to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The American Association of Cancer Research, The American Association of Pathologists, he is a founding member and Secretary of the International Society of Stem Cell Biology and a Charter Member of the Transplantation Society, to name just a few.
As already alluded to above Irving Weissman is also engaged in numerous non-university service activities, such as being an Appointee of the Senate Rules Committee of the Californian Legislative and a Jury member of the Albert Lasker-Price for Medical Research. He was also the chairman of the NAS Panel on Scientific and Medical Aspects of Human Cloning from 2001 - 2002. Finally, as can be expected from these scientific achievements, Irving Weissman is a member of many biotechnology boards and founder of several start-up companies. He holds many patents in the fields of haematopoietic stem cells and immunology addressing technical, diagnostic and therapeutic aspects.
Irving Weissman’s scientific interests are centred around a theme that now receives worldwide attention from both theoretical and practical viewpoints, i.e. stem cell research.

His main research interests are the following:
1. Haematopoietic stem cells and progenitor cells
2. Central nervous stem cells and progenitor cells
3. Lymphocyte differentiation
4. Homing Receptors
5. Normal and neoplastic heamatolymphoid development
6. Phylogeny of stem cells and alloreactivity in protochordates
(source: Laudatio Univ.-Prof. Dr. G. Wick)

  Undergraduate Study of Zoology, Dartmouth College, Hannover NH
  Montana State University, BS
1965 Graduation in Medicine, Stanford University
  Postgraduate Study in Oxford, UK
  Assistant; Associate; Full Professor of Pathology, Stanford University
  Professor of Pathology, Developmental Biology; (by courtesy) Biological Sciences and Neurosurgery, Stanford University
  V. and DK Ludwig Professor for Clinical Investigation and Cancer Research, Stanford University
  Director, Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine
  Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Stanford University
  Numerous Guest lectures, honours, Prizes and honorary memberships in scientific societies, including:
1989 Member of the National Academy of Sciences
1989 The Harvey Lecture
1990 Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
2002 Californian Scientist of the Year
2005 Linus Pauling Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Science
2006 Honorary Doctorate Columbia University, New York
  Chairman of the NAS Panel on Scientific and Medical Aspects of Human Cloning 2001/2