Brian Davis
Dr. Brian Davis

Dr. John Hancock, executive director of the Institute for Molecular Medicine, has named Dr. Brian Davis director of the IMM’s Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine.

The center includes 15 primary or cross-appointed faculty members, with plans to grow. It also is home to the Sen. Lloyd and B.A. Bentsen Center for Stroke Research, which has specific emphasis on discovering stroke therapeutics.

“We are grateful to have such community support and recognition for the work that we do,” Davis said about the Bentsen Center, which recently provided its second round of funding to individual faculty as Bentsen Investigators.

Davis is holder of the Annie and Bob Graham Distinguished Chair in Stem Cell Biology. He received an A.B. in physics, summa cum laude, from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology, where his theoretical research focused on neutrino oscillations and tests of time reversal invariance. He was one of the first investigators to demonstrate the absence of HIV infection in blood stem/progenitor cells of HIV-infected individuals. Furthermore his laboratory reported cloning of the complete cDNA and genomic sequences encoding the CD34 protein that identifies all human blood stem/progenitor cells. He served as an associate professor at UTMB, and was president and CEO of a start-up biotechnology company, Gene-Cell. He also was the senior scientist and director of scientific affairs and operations at the Institute for Inherited Diseases Research.

Davis’ research is focused on gene editing in stem cells utilizing homologous recombination and/or DNA repair processes to restore an endogenous mutant gene sequence to the corrected normal sequence in autologous stem cells obtained from patients with inherited genetic disease. This work is directed toward development of stem cell-based therapeutics for lung (e.g., Cystic Fibrosis) and blood (e.g., Primary Immunodeficiency) diseases.

— Darla Brown, Office of Communications, Medical School