M. William Lensch, PhD
M. William “Willy” Lensch leads Harvard Stem Cell Science’s educational initiatives as Executive Director of Harvard University’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB) and Co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute Internship Program (HIP). At HSCRB, he oversees the administrative activities of Harvard’s first cross-school department, bridging the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) in Cambridge to the Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Harvard teaching hospitals in Boston. At HIP, Dr. Lensch guides each year’s group of undergraduates—Harvard students and others from colleges and universities around the country and the world—as they become immersed in the field of stem cell biology and contemplate what it means to conduct biomedical research while discussing how their work relates to matters of policy, ethics, and the improvement of clinical practice.
Dr. Lensch is the co-author of over 50 peer-reviewed articles, reviews/book chapters, and policy recommendations, and has participated in more than 200 invited lectures, medical grand rounds, interviews, or panel discussions. He has served as gubernatorial appointee to the Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee and the Ad Hoc Committee to Establish a Public Umbilical Cord Blood Bank (State of Connecticut), as a founding member of the Interstate Alliance for Stem Cell Research (IASCR), and the Public Education Committee of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR).
Dr. Lensch’s former positions include: Instructor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Faculty Director of Education at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and Senior Scientist in the laboratory of George Q. Daley, MD, PhD, at Boston Children's Hospital/Howard Hughes Medical Institute. From 2001-2013, Dr. Lensch’s research used human pluripotent stem cells to study blood development and disease. In other roles, he has investigated bone marrow failure/leukemia (Oregon Health Sciences University/Portland VAMC), neuromuscular disease (Univ. of Pennsylvania, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the Univ. of Utah), and eukaryotic heavy-metal resistance (Utah State Univ.).
Dr. Lensch has been interviewed and comments internationally on stem cell research in forums ranging from the New York Times (online) to The Salt Lake City Tribune (Utah), Forbes Magazine to Sports Illustrated, the Chambers of the United States Senate to local town-hall meetings, and the Pontifical University Regina Apostolorum (Rome) to the Temple Ohabei Shalom (Massachusetts).