The research of international molecular biologist Heinrich Jasper, Ph.D., is focused on the age-related decline of stem cell function and regenerative potential. Stem cells are critical to the process of tissue regeneration. Jasper is interested in whether the aging process can be influenced by optimizing stem cell activity. A related avenue of investigation involves enhancing innate immune function to promote tissue repair and regeneration. The long-term goal of his research is the development of therapies to restore regenerative potential.
Jasper heads a laboratory in the Immunology Discovery group at Genentech, where he studies the pathways and processes involved in a wide range of age-related inflammatory and degenerative diseases. Genentech, a member of the Roche group, has been at the forefront of the biotech industry for more than 40 years. He is also a professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, where his current projects focus on the role of insulin and stress signaling pathways in the control of tissue regeneration, metabolic homeostasis and cell death.
The Orkand Lecture in neuroscience and cell signaling is named in memory of Richard Orkand, Ph.D., a pioneering researcher in the field of glial neurobiology. Orkand earned his doctorate at the University of Utah in 1961 and was a faculty member at the University of Utah, the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Pennsylvania before becoming director of the Institute of Neurobiology at the University of Puerto Rico. He spent several summers at the MDI Biological Laboratory.