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Lee Rubin

Lee Rubin, Ph.D.

Lee Rubin is an associate member in the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at Broad Institute. He is also a professor in the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University, and director of translational medicine and executive committee member at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

Rubin has a broad experience in both academia and industry, particularly in the realms of cell-based assays and drug discovery. Prior to coming to Harvard, he was chief scientific officer of Curis, Inc., a Cambridge-based biotechnology company, where his group identified the first small molecule regulators of the hedgehog signaling pathway. One of these antagonists was developed by Genentech and is now (as Erivedge) approved as the first oral treatment for metastatic basal cell carcinoma.

At Harvard, much of Rubin's work is focused on finding key molecular mediators of different neurodegenerative diseases and on searching for effective preclinical therapeutic candidates. His research takes advantage of his group’s ability to produce large numbers of patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cell lines and of effective means of deriving differentiated neurons from them. Some of this work has involved new ways of producing neurons that are more “in vivo-like.” His lab has also set up an array of techniques that has allowed them to identify early cellular and physiological changes in neurons as they become diseased. For example, they have identified new targets for the treatment of the motor neuron disorders spinal muscular atrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Currently, they are also studying psychiatric disorders, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Finally, his group recently discovered that a circulating protein, GDF11, has the ability to reverse some of the changes in the central nervous system associated with aging. They are actively exploring the therapeutic implications of these observations as well.

Rubin received his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Rockefeller University and had postdoctoral training, also in neuroscience, at Harvard Medical School and Stanford University School of Medicine.

May 2015