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The Zigzag of Science

A conversation with Mahendra Rao

44 minutes
Mahendra Rao


Mahendra Rao discusses the zigzag-ing path of translation stem cell research and the shifting global dynamics of science.

See his Stem Cell Meeting on the Mesa 2011 lecture here.

Mahendra Rao is internationally renowned for his research involving human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and other somatic stem cells. He has worked in the stem cell field for more than 20 years, with stints in academia, government and regulatory affairs and industry. He received his M.D. from Bombay University in India and his Ph.D. in developmental neurobiology from the California Institute of Technology. Following postdoctoral training at Case Western Reserve University, he established his research laboratory in neural development at the University of Utah. He next joined the National Institute on Aging as chief of the Neurosciences Section, where he studied neural progenitor cells and continued to explore his longstanding interest in their clinical potential. Most recently, he spent six years as the vice president of Regenerative Medicine at Life Technologies. He co-founded Q Therapeutics, a neural stem cell company based in Salt Lake City. He also served internationally on advisory boards for companies involved in stem cell processing and therapy, on committees including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Cellular Tissue and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee chair, and as the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and International Society for Stem Cell Research liaison to the International Society for Cellular Therapy.