Dr. Paul Frenette to Lead Einstein Stem Cell Research

First Director of the Gottesman Institute

May 24, 2010 – (BRONX, NY) – Leading stem cell and vascular biology researcher Paul S. Frenette, M.D., has been named the first director of the Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. Dr. Frenette will spearhead Einstein’s efforts to build upon existing resources to create a premier stem cell research institute. His role will concentrate on exploring new research directions, encouraging collaboration among researchers, recruiting new stem cell investigators, and overseeing the establishment of shared core resources. Dr. Frenette’s appointment begins July 1, 2010.

Paul S. Frenette, M.D.
Paul S. Frenette, M.D.
Dr. Frenette joins Einstein from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, where he was professor of medicine, hematology and medical oncology and of gene and cell medicine. He was also a member of the school’s stem cell and immunology institutes and cancer center. The author of groundbreaking studies on the stem cell microenvironment and sickle cell disease, Dr. Frenette is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. He served on the editorial boards of Blood and The Journal of Clinical Investigation, as chair of the scientific committee on thrombosis and vascular biology of the American Society of Hematology, and on multiple panels at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

“Dr. Frenette is a brilliant and creative scientist,” said Allen M. Spiegel, M.D., the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean. “Within his own research program and as director of the Gottesman Institute, his ability to connect basic biology to clinical medicine will help him realize the enormous potential of stem cell research for improving treatment of human disease.”

A generous gift from Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman established The Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research in 2008. It will provide a more cohesive and supportive environment to nearly two dozen stem cell investigators focusing on a diverse range of fields, including liver failure, cancer and heart disease.

Among Einstein’s notable researchers is Eric Bouhassira, Ph.D., professor of cell biology and of medicine and the Ingeborg and Ira Leon Rennert Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. He studies human embryonic and adult stem cells to understand the process leading to their differentiation into red cells, T cells, platelets, and all other cell types that comprise blood. Sanjeev Gupta, M.D., M.B.B.S., professor of medicine and of pathology and the Eleazar and Feige Reicher Chair in Translational Medicine, is another leading member of the institute. He is developing strategies for turning human embryonic stem cells into fully functional liver cells that could be transplanted into the body, eliminating the need for liver transplants.

Since 2008, Einstein has been a leading recipient of stem cell funding from the New York State Stem Cell Science (NYSTEM) initiative. The state is committing $600 million in the next decade to advance stem cell science in New York. To date, Einstein researchers have received over $15 million in NYSTEM funding. Earlier this year, the College of Medicine received two new grants totaling over $1.4 million, awarded to two leading members of Einstein’s stem cell research team; Jayanta Roy-Chowdhury, M.B.B.S., professor of medicine and of genetics, and Ulrich Steidl, M.D., Ph.D., the Diane and Arthur B. Belfer Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research and assistant professor of cell biology.

Working with these and other members of the Einstein community, Dr. Frenette will leverage the College of Medicine’s distinctively collaborative environment and establish more frequent and robust research partnerships. By facilitating an extensive network of research relationships among basic, clinical and population researchers, the institute will expand the translational research and applications of its members and Einstein as a whole.

In consultation with several departments, Dr. Frenette will lead the recruitment of new stem cell investigators. He will also oversee the expansion of the physical resources, including the development of new laboratory space and shared resource facilities.

“Within his own research program and as director of the Gottesman Institute, Dr. Frenette’s ability to connect basic biology to clinical medicine will help him realize the enormous potential of stem cell research for improving treatment of human disease.”

-- Dean Allen M. Spiegel, M.D.
“Dr. Spiegel’s sustained commitment to stem cell research and clear vision for the future has created a dynamic, attractive and inspiring atmosphere,” said Dr. Frenette. “I’m looking forward to working with Einstein’s strong stem cell faculty and leadership to create a leading institute that has a real impact on the health and lives of patients.”

In addition to his responsibilities as director of the institute, Dr. Frenette will continue to lead his own laboratory, which focuses on stem cell biology, vascular biology and inflammation. His work in blood stem cell trafficking – which investigates how stem cells migrate between the bone marrow and the blood – led to the recognition of an unexpected connection between the brain and bone marrow. His laboratory has shown that the release of hematopoietic stem cells in the blood follows circadian rhythms, which may impact stem cell therapy already used with cancer patients recovering from high doses of chemotherapy.

Dr. Frenette’s vascular biology interests include studies on how vascular occlusions (sudden blockages in blood vessels) occur, particularly in sickle cell anemia.  His paradigm-shifting findings revised the understanding of the mechanisms involved in this complex process. By indentifying the critical role played by white blood cells, his work provides potential new therapies for the disease.

Originally from Quebec City, Canada, Dr. Frenette received his M.D. from Laval University in Quebec and completed his residency and internship at Montreal General Hospital, McGill University. He moved to Boston in 1991, where he was a clinical and research fellow in hematology-oncology at the New England Medical Center, then a research affiliate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, associate physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a junior investigator at the Center for Blood Research. In 1998, he joined the faculty of Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.