HSCI scientists recognized as leaders in stem cell biology

October 23, 2018

Vijay Sankaran and Vikram Khurana have been named NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigators

Vijay Sankaran and Vikram Khurana
Vijay Sankaran and Vikram Khurana.


The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) has named two HSCI scientists as NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigators. Vijay Sankaran, M.D., Ph.D. and Vikram Khurana, M.D., Ph.D.  — both Principal Faculty members of HSCI — have been named to this program in recognition of their cutting-edge research that holds the potential to accelerate treatments and cures.

“The NYSCF – Robertson Investigators are made up of leaders in the stem cell and neuroscience fields,” said Susan L. Solomon, CEO and Co-founder of NYSCF in a statement. “The award allows this dynamic community of innovators to pursue high-risk, high-reward research that traditional funding does not support, pushing the limits of what we believe is possible.”

Sankaran, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, uses human genetics to better understand blood cell development and how it goes awry in human disease. In particular, he seeks to gain molecular insight into how blood cell development varies in humans both in health and disease, and to develop improved therapies for a variety of blood disorders.

Khurana, Chief of the Movement Disorders Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, is using patient stem cells to model and observe the misfolded forms of alpha-synuclein, a protein that becomes toxic in Parkinson’s patients, with the goal of developing patient-specific therapies.

In addition to being recognized by NYSCF, Khurana has received the 2018 Brigham Research Institute Director’s Transformative Award. Based on preliminary research supported by an HSCI seed grant, he will build a new program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital to stratify and precisely target neurodegenerative diseases.