Helen Blau Wiki Profile (PDF)

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Title: Helen Blau is a Professor of Microbiology & Immunology at Stanford University Medical School, where she is the Director of Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology
Author: Nahir

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Helen Blau is a British and American Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at
Stanford University Medical School, where she has been a faculty member since 1978.
At Stanford she heads the Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology, and also holds
appointments as Associate Program Director of Predoctoral Training and as Associate
Program Director of Predoctoral Training in Developmental Biology and Neonatology.
She is a Member of the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and
Faculty Affiliate of both Bio-X and Stanford Cardiovascular Institute.
Helen was born in London in 1948 and grew up until 6 in the USA, but then mostly in
France and Germany. Her father was a teacher of world history, her mother taught
literature. She speaks English, French and German equally fluently. Dr Blau is married to
David Spiegel, a psychiatrist, and they have two children
Her research has been directed to studying nuclear fusion, cell reprogramming, cell fate
plasticity and stem-cell pluripotency to differentiate.
A comprehensive list of scientific articles authored by Professor Helen Blau is available
at the following link: http://is.gd/CD0gLM
In the 1980s her lab findings contributed to change the established belief that the
mammalian differentiated state was fixed and irreversible. Her team reprogrammed
somatic cells to express genes of an alternative fate without the need for DNA replication
or cell division. She achieved this by fusing cells of 2 different fates together to form
In recent years her lab established the role of mammalian DNA demethylation in cellreprogramming toward pluripotency.
Her group designed novel hydrogel matrices for culturing adult stem cells.
She unveiled that Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD)-a muscle wasting disease- is
caused by deficiency of a protein called dystrophin and by shortened telomeres.

Helen Blau demonstrated that so-called “tumor suppressor genes” stimulate regeneration
in mammals including humans.

Author of “Neuromuscular Development and Disease” (Raven Press)

Co-editor of “Handbook of Stem Cells” (Academic Press).
Along her professional career, among other honors, Professor Blau has won the
following distinctions:

Honorary Doctorate, University of Nijmegen, Holland (2003)

President, International Society of Differentiation (2002-2004)

Council Member, American Society for Cell Biology (2002-2004)

Merit Award, National Institute of Health (1995-2005)

McKnight Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Award (2001)

FASEB Excellence in Science Award, FASEB (1999)

Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1996)

Member of the Institute of Medicine (1995)

President, American Society for Developmental Biology (1994-1995)

Senior Career Recognition Award, Women in Cell Biology, ASCB (1992)

Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (1991)

Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Ellison Medical Foundation and
Harvard Board of Overseers.

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