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Dr. James Wilson

Human Gene Therapy Comes of Age

February 11, 2016

Dr. James Wilson is a pioneer and world leader of in the field of gene therapy.   He has made many seminal contributions and received numerous awards for his outstanding research work.  Dr. Wilson is currently the Director of the Gene Therapy Program and the Director of the Orphan Disease Center at the University of Pennsylvania.  Throughout his career, Dr. Wilson has published more than 469 peer-reviewed research articles in top ranked journals, 48 editorial/review articles, 65 book chapters and one book.  He is among the most cited scientists in the world.

Dr. Wilson received his MD and PhD from the University of Michigan in 1984.  Following a highly productive resident/post-doc training at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Wilson joined the University of Michigan as a faculty member and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.  Dr. Wilson has been a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Wistar Institute since 1993.  He has severed on numerous national and international committees and has been on editorial board for 16 academic journals.  Dr. Wilson has trained countless junior researchers.  Many of his trainees are holding leadership positions in academic institutes around the world.

At early days of his career, Dr. Wilson has worked on the identification of gene mutations that lead to various inherited diseases and on the understanding of the molecular basis and pathogenic mechanisms of these genetic diseases.  Dr. Wilson began to publish his gene therapy studies in 1988.  Over the years, he has utilized and optimized a number of viral gene transfer vectors such as retrovirus, adenovirus, lentivirus and adeno-associated virus.  He has tested gene therapy for hyperlipidemia, cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, leukocyte adhesion deficiency, ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency, mucopolysaccharidosis, b-thalassemia, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, retinal diseases, cancer, heart failure, atherosclerosis, and infectious diseases (SARS, Ebola, HIV, Dengue virus, pandemic influenza).  Dr. Wilson has also led the study to understand immunological barriers in gene therapy and to develop novel strategies to overcome adverse immune responses.  The vectors developed by Dr. Wilson have been used by numerous laboratories around the world for treating inherited and acquired diseases.  Some of these vectors have shown excellent efficacy and safety in clinical trials in human patients.

Human Gene Therapy Comes of Age