Kevin C. Eggan
Kevin Eggan is a visiting scientist in the Broad Institute’s Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research. He is also an associate professor in the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University and a principal investigator at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.
As a young investigator in the burgeoning field of stem cell biology, Eggan has garnered international recognition for his seminal work and a number of high profile awards for his creativity and productivity, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” in 2006. His current research focuses on applying the knowledge gained in stem cell biology to studying the mechanisms underlying amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and discovering new therapeutic targets. He made a significant impact in the field by publishing two high profile papers in Cell Stem Cell and Science in 2008. One paper described the discovery that motor neurons derived from human embryonic stem cells are susceptible to the toxic effect of glial cells harboring an ALS mutation. The other shows that induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells generated from adult skin cells of ALS patients can be differentiated into motor neurons. In 2009, he was selected as one of 50 Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Early Career Scientists who will receive six years of dedicated support to conduct transformative research. He is using this support to advance the use of both human embryonic stem cells and iPS cells in the study of ALS and the development of new treatments.
In collaboration with the Stanley Center’s scientists, Eggan is now interested in extending the approaches his group has used to better understand ALS to the study of psychiatric disease.
Eggan received his bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of Illinois. He completed a two-year predoctoral internship with Amgen at the National Institutes of Health, before earning his Ph.D. in biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he actively pursued projects focused on cloning, stem cells, and reprogramming after nuclear transfer under the guidance of genetics pioneer Rudolf Jaenisch. Eggan stayed in Jaenisch’s lab after his graduation for a one-year postdoctoral training position in 2002. During that time, he conducted a collaborative study with Richard Axel, a Nobel Prize winner at HHMI. In 2003, he moved to Harvard University as a junior fellow and then became an assistant professor of molecular and cellular biology at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute in 2005.