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Dr. Kiminobu Sugaya is a Professor and Head of Neuroscience in Burnett School of Biomedical Science, College of Medicine, University of Central Florida (UCF) since 2004. He is a Chair of Multidisciplinary Neuroscience Alliance of UCF. He moved from Japan to Mayo Clinic, US as a postdoc. in 1992 when he was a lecturer in Science University of Tokyo and he was promoted to an associate consultant in 1994. Then he moved to the University of Illinois at Chicago as an assistant professor in 1997 and got promoted to an associate professor in 2002. He has been conducting stem cell researches to treat neurodegenerative diseases by the adult stem cells. He recently received National Honor Plaque of Panama for exceptional contribution to neuroscience based on his study on stem cell therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. His publication regarding improvement of memory in the aged animal by stem cell transplantation was reported Washington Post, BBC, NBC, ABC and other media in all over the world. Dr. Sugaya is also a founder and chair of Progenicyte, which is a biotech company holding his 67 patent licenses, including a revolutionary process of creating pluripotent stem cells from a patient's own cells and a novel pharmaceutical approach to increase endogenous stem cells. He also recently established and SynapCyte, which is a biopharmaceutical company to conduct clinical trials of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease therapies based on his patents.
Investigation of stem cell biology also give us a clue for cause of disease. We found reelin, which expression is known to be reduced in schizophrenia and autism, and ?-amyloid precursor protein (APP), which produces amyloid ? depositions in Alzheimer’s disease, are involved in stem cell migration and differentiation using knockout and/or transgenic mice. Thus these factors may play an important role not only in neuroplasticity in the normal condition, but also in a deficit of adult neurogenesis under pathological conditions. Thus we are investigating novel therapeutic strategies for this disease, including modifications of stem cell and regulation of these factors. Using all these advanced stem cell technologies, we may be able to change therapeutic strategies for neurodegenerative diseases form delaying progress of the diseases or symptomatic treatments to the cure near future. Our researches are supported by NIH (R01 AG 23472 and R01AG20011) and Alzheimer’s Association (IIRG-03-5577).