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Dr. Thomas Rando selected as director of UCLA’s stem cell research center

Dr. Thomas Rando, professor of neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford University, will be the new director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA. (Courtesy of Thomas Rando)

By Victoria Li

July 9, 2021 11:28 a.m.

UCLA appointed a new director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research, according to a campuswide email Wednesday.

Dr. Thomas Rando will become the second director of the stem cell research center beginning Oct. 1. Rando will succeed the interim director Dr. S. Thomas Carmichael, a professor and chair of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine, and founding director Dr. Owen Witte, a distinguished professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics.

Rando is currently a professor of neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford University, where he works as the director of the Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging, according to the email. He has also served as chief of neurology service at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System since 1996.

At Stanford, Rando’s research focused on understanding how stem cells repair tissue and change with age, areas of research he hopes to continue pursuing at the center while also strengthening existing initiatives, he said.

Researchers at the center have helped develop experimental ways to treat cancer, HIV infection and other immune disorders.

[Related: UCLA-led team develops potential treatment for children with rare immune disease]

A committee of six UCLA professors chaired by Dr. Jeffrey F. Miller, director of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA, selected Rando after an international search.

Founded as the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine in 2005 with a $20 million grant from UCLA, the center is home to more than 200 scientists and clinicians from various departments across UCLA, according to the center’s website.

“I am confident the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA will continue to thrive under Tom’s leadership,” said Chancellor Gene Block in the email.

In addition to supporting the center’s research efforts, Rando said he hopes to recruit the next generation of stem cell researchers and recognizes the importance of workforce diversity in improving research.

Rando said he is excited to come to a new school and work in an environment where graduate and undergraduate education are closely linked.

“It’s my great honor to be considered for this position,” Rando said. “I’m very much looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity.”

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Victoria Li | Science and Health editor
Li is the 2021-2022 science and health editor. She was previously a contributor for the science and health beat. She is also a third-year human biology and society student at UCLA who enjoys writing about research and public health.
Li is the 2021-2022 science and health editor. She was previously a contributor for the science and health beat. She is also a third-year human biology and society student at UCLA who enjoys writing about research and public health.
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