Inder Verma, Laboratory of Genetics, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, USA
Inder M. Verma is the Irwin and Joan Jacobs Chair in Exemplary Life Science Institute and American Cancer Society Professor of Molecular Biology, and directs the Laboratory of Genetics at the Salk.
He is one of the world's leading authorities on the development of viruses for gene therapy vectors. Dr. Verma uses genetically engineered viruses to insert new genes into cells that can then be returned to the body, where they produce the essential protein whose absence causes disease.
Dr. Verma and Salk colleagues developed a gene therapy vector, based on a stripped-down version of HIV that can deliver genes to non-dividing cells. They have used this vector successfully to deliver the clotting factor gene to laboratory animals and to transfer a therapeutic gene to retinal cells to mice with an inborn deficiency. Dr. Verma's group is using lentiviral vectors to generate mouse models of human cancer. His laboratory also studies the function of two genes implicated in familial breast cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2, and recently demonstrated that their action is linked to the cell's division cycle and that BRCA1 regulates gene and heterochromatin activity.
Dr. Verma was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Third World Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and is also a Foreign Fellow to the National Academy of Sciences, India. Among several prestigious awards, he was named recipient of the 2008 Vilcek Prize in biomedical science, a March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation Franklin D. Roosevelt Investigator in 1997, and the NIH Outstanding Investigator in 1988 and 2010 Pasarow award in cancer research.
Dr. Verma is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), and the Chairman of the scientific advisory committee to Dept of Biotechnology, Govt of India. He is the founder and scientific advisor to several pharmaceutical and biotech companies including Signal Pharmaceuticals, Agenesys, Ventana Pharmaceuticals, Quark Biotech, and others. He has also been playing a key role as a member of several boards and advisory boards, including Greenwich Biotech, Cell Genesys Inc., Ceregene, Inc, VIRxSYS, Inc., Cleveland Biolabs, Inc. Calimmune, Immune Design, Neurotransit, and recently Vega Therapeutics. Dr. Verma is also founder and Chairman of SAB of Jubilant Biosciences, Bangalore, India.
Dr. Verma received a master's degree from Lucknow University, India, and a Ph.D. from The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovoth, Israel. After postdoctoral study at MIT in the laboratory of the Nobel laureate David Baltimore, he joined the faculty of The Salk Institute at age 26.
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