Leadership and Key Members
James Byrne, PhD
The long term aim of Dr. James Byrne’s research is to create and use patient-specific induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technology to treat diseases such as Parkinson’s, heart disease and diabetes as well as promote recovery from spinal cord injuries and regenerate human organs, tissues and cells as they age, mutate and die. iPS cell technology is the reprogramming of human somatic cells back into an embryonic-like pluripotent state in order to re-differentiate them into other potentially useful functional cell types.
Dr. Byrne hopes that by studying the underlying mechanisms of nuclear reprogramming and by developing basic research and clinical applications based on human iPS cells, we will be able to increase both the length and the quality of human life. The iPS cell technology holds much hope for the future of regenerative medicine because it uses the patient’s own cells for treatments, thus avoiding rejection by the patient’s immune system.
His research at Stanford and now at UCLA has focused on reprogramming beginning with cells from animals and ultimately in humans. At the University of Cambridge, Dr. Byrne investigated both intra- and inter-species epigenetic reprogramming. Dr. Byrne also demonstrated that primate embryonic stem cells could be derived through somatic cell nuclear transfer. At Stanford, Dr. Byrne focused on extending his reprogramming and isogenic stem cell interests and helped to establish a bank of human patient-specific somatic cells and reprogrammed those cells into patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells.
An assistant professor of molecular and medical pharmacology, Dr. Byrne joined the faculty of UCLA in 2010. He earned his doctorate degree at the University of Cambridge. Dr. Byrne’s work is funded by the Broad Stem Cell Research Center.