Irving L. Weissman, M.D., is the Director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Director of the Stanford Cancer Center and Director of the Stanford Ludwig Center for Stem Cell Research. Dr. Weissman was a member of the founding Scientific Advisory Boards of Amgen (1981-1989), DNAX (1981-1992), and T-Cell Sciences (1988-1992). He co-founded SyStemix in 1988, StemCells in 1996, and Celtrans (now Cellerant), the successor to SyStemix, in 2001. He is a Director and Chair of their Scientific Advisory Boards.
His research encompasses the biology and evolution of stem cells and progenitor cells, mainly blood-forming and brain-forming. He is also engaged in isolating and characterizing the rare cancer and leukemia stem cells as the only dangerous cells in these malignancies, especially with human cancers. Finally, he has a long-term research interest in the phylogeny and developmental biology of the cells that make up the blood-forming and immune systems. His laboratory was first to identify and isolate the blood-forming stem cell from mice, and has purified each progenitor in the stages of development between the stem cells and mature progeny (granulocytes, macrophages, etc.). At SyStemix he co-discovered the human hematopoietic stem cell and at StemCells, he co-discovered a human central nervous system stem cell. In addition, the Weissman laboratory has pioneered the study of the genes and proteins involved in cell adhesion events required for lymphocyte homing to lymphoid organs in vivo, either as a normal function or as events involved in malignant leukemic metastases.
Professor Weissman is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (1989-present), the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy (2002-present), and the American Association of Arts and Sciences (1990-present) and the American Academy of Microbiology (1997-present). He served as President of the American Association of Immunologists in 1994. He has received the Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Institutes of Health (1986), the Kaiser Award for Excellence in Preclinical Teaching (1987), the Pasarow Award in Cancer Research (1989), the Harvey Lecture Award (1989), the De Villiers International Achievement Award of the Leukemia Society of America (1999), and the E. Donnall Thomas Prize from the American Society of Hematology (1999). He received an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from Montana State University (1992), was Selected Top 100 Alumni of Montana State University (1993), the Montana Conservationist of the Year Award (1994). Professor Weissman also received the Ellen Brown Scripps Society Medal (2001), the Irvington Institute Immunologist of the Year Award (2001), the Van Bekkum Stem Cell Award (2002), the California Scientist of the Year Award (2002), the Association of American Cancer Institutes 2002 Distinguished Scientist Award, the Basic Cell Research Award by the American Society of Cytopathology (2002), The Society of Neurological Surgeons Bass Award (2003), the J. Allyn Taylor International Prize in Medicine (2003), the American Diabetes Association Elliott Proctor Joslin Medal (2003), and the Rabbi Shai Shacknai Memorial Prize in Immunology and Cancer Research from the Lautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology (2004). In 2004 Dr. Weissman was awarded the New York Academy of Medicine Award for Distinguished Contributions to Biomedical Research, the Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal from the National Academy of Sciences Council, and was the Alan Cranston Awardee from the Alliance for Aging Research. He received The Linus Pauling Medal for Outstanding Contributions in Science from Stanford University and the “Dare to Dream” award from the Jeffrey Modell Foundation in 2005. In 2006 Professor Weissman was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Columbia University, the John Scott Award from the City of Philadelphia, and the American Italian Cancer Foundation Prize for Scientific Excellence in Medicine, and The Commonwealth Club of California 18th Annual Distinguished Citizen Award. In 2007 he has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City, New York.