Helen M. Blau, Ph.D
Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Foundation Professor
Director, Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology
Stanford University School of Medicine
Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Currently, there are no approved treatments for sarcopenia, the debilitating loss of muscle mass and strength with aging. Due to its multifactorial etiology, untangling the causal molecular pathways to identify therapeutic targets to delay or reverse sarcopenia has proven challenging. We have discovered novel pivotal regulators of muscle stem cell function in regeneration and myofiber rejuvenation that lead to enhanced muscle regeneration and restored strength in aged mice.
Helen M. Blau, Ph.D. is the Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Foundation professor and Director of the Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology at Stanford University. Blau's research area is regenerative medicine with a focus on stem cells. She is world-renowned for her work on nuclear reprogramming and demonstration of the plasticity of cell fate using cell fusion. These studies provided the scientific underpinnings for induced pluripotent stem cells. Blau led the field with novel approaches to treating muscle damaged due to disease, injury, or aging. She pioneered the design of biomaterials to mimic the in vivo microenvironment and direct stem cell fate. A major focus of her work is the rejuvenation of muscle stem cell function to enhance muscle repair in muscle wasting diseases and aging. Her lab recently discovered a pivotal molecular determinant of aging, the prostaglandin degrading enzyme, 15-PGDH, and showed that its inhibition rejuvenates mitochondrial function, muscle mass and strength. Blau served as President of the American Society for Developmental Biology, President of the International Society for Differentiation, as an elected member of the Harvard University Board of Overseers and the Ellison Medical Foundation Scientific Advisory Board. She is an elected member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Medicine, and National Academy of Sciences.