Cell Manufacturing Platform
Director, McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University Health Network, Canada
Dr. Keller earned his PhD in Immunology at the University of Alberta in 1979 and completed a Post Doctoral Fellowship at the Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI) in Toronto in 1983.
Following postdoctoral studies, he became a Member of the Basel Institute for Immunology in Switzerland where he worked for five years, then moved to Vienna (Austria) where he accepted a post of Visiting Scientist at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology. In 1990, Dr. Keller moved to the United States, working initially at the National Jewish Centre for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine in Denver Colorado and, from 1999-2006, as a Professor in the Department of Gene and Cell Medicine at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York. In 2005, he was appointed as the Director of the Black Family Stem Cell Institute within the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. In spite of being labelled by New York Magazine as one of the “six doctors New York can’t afford to lose”, Dr. Keller was enticed to return to Canada in January 2007 to accept the position of Director of the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University Health Network in Toronto.
In addition to his role as Director, Dr. Keller is a Senior Scientist in the Division of Stem Cell and Developmental Biology at OCI and a Professor in the Department of Medical Biophysics at U of T. He has trained over 30 HQP, providing them with a solid foundation with which to start independent research careers. Dr. Keller is also a founding member, past president and serves on the Board of Directors of the International Society of Stem Cell Research and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Burnham Institute for Medical Research. Throughout his remarkable career, Dr. Keller has received numerous awards, including the “100 Alumni of Influence” Alumni award from the University of Saskatchewan and a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Embryonic Stem Biology. He works closely with industry as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for StemGent and serves as a consultant for the Biotechnology Companies Embryonic Stem Cell International (Singapore) and Ontogeny (Cambridge, Massachusetts) and the pharmaceutical company Sandoz (Switzerland).
Dr. Keller is the premier researcher, worldwide, in the application of developmental biology to the differentiation of embryonic stem (ES) cells into therapeutically relevant cells, such as cardiomyocytes, hematopoietic cells and endoderm cells. His investigations into how to induce mouse and human ES cells to become different cell types recently led to breakthrough results, published in the journal Nature, describing the first successful transformation of ES cells into rudimentary heart cells, which were further directed to become three different types of coronary tissue. These cells may be used in the future to help repair damaged hearts and are also a novel source of human cardiac cells that can be used for drug testing. Dr. Keller’s research has led to 5 patents and over 100 publications, which have earned greater than 9200 citations, resulting in an h-index of 45.