Helen M. Blau, Ph.D.
Helen M. Blau, Ph.D.

The McGovern Medical School will welcome Dr. Helen Blau, director of the Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology at Stanford University, to campus March 6 as the speaker at this year’s Cheves Smythe Distinguished Lecture.

Blau’s lecture, titled “Muscle Regeneration: No Pain, No Gain,” will be held 4 to 5 p.m. in MSB Room 3.001. Blau’s major focus of her current work is the rejuvenation of muscle stem cell function to enhance skeletal muscle repair in older patients. Her research has enhanced muscle stem cell based therapies and led to the discovery of novel molecules and strategies for targeting stem cells in situ for the treatment of muscle wasting due to disease and aging. She is world-renowned for her work on nuclear reprogramming and the demonstration of the plasticity of cell fate using cell fusion.

Blau received her B.A. from University of York in England and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. She is currently the Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Professor and director of the Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology in the Microbiology and Immunology Department and the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell biology and Regenerative Medicine in the Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California. Blau served on the Ellison Medical Foundation Scientific Advisory Board and the Harvard Board of Overseers and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Among the awards and honors she has received includes the Senior Career Recognition Award of WICB of the American Society of Cell Biology, the FASEB Excellence in Science Award, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Nijmegen, Holland.

The Cheves Smythe Distinguished Lecture was established in 2006 to honor Dr. Cheves Smythe, the first dean of the medical school, who served 1970–75. Smythe skillfully guided the school through its early years with his long-standing commitment to the fields of geriatrics and education and his exemplary standards of leadership.