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The one hundred honoree: Konrad Hochedlinger, PhD

Innovation Story

The one hundred honoree: Konrad Hochedlinger, PhD

Mass General Giving

Dr. Konrad Hochedlinger is a principal investigator at Mass General’s Center for Regenerative Medicine and the Cancer Center. A 2007 recipient of a $1.5 million National Institutes of Health New Innovator Award and a newly appointed investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, he is also an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and a principal faculty member at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Dr. Hochedlinger has pioneered technology to reprogram normal cells into cells with embryonic stem cell-like properties. A research team of scientists in Japan published findings on a method of reprogramming mature cells from mouse skins into cells with stem cell-like properties. Dr. Hochedlinger and his lab team repeated and significantly improved the reprogramming, publishing the findings in June 2007, and in the fall replicated the findings of the other team using human cells. His group was the first to produce reprogrammed cells devoid of any foreign DNA elements, which had been used initially, thus generating safer cells that could at some point be used for therapy.

This revolutionary stem cell research is providing novel insights into the key mechanisms that regulate normal and cancerous proliferation. Dr. Hochedlinger’s research may one day lead to new therapies based on tissue regeneration.