Profile: Michael Sean Pepper
Dir. Inst. for Cellular & Molecular Med.
Michael Pepper is Director of the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine and Director the SAMRC Extramural Unit for Stem Cell Research and Therapy as well as a professor in the Department of Immunology in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Pretoria. He is professeur associé in the Department of Genetic Medicine and Development in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. He obtained his MBChB in 1982 from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Cape Town, and moved to Geneva in 1986, where he obtained his PhD in 1990 and MD in 1992. In 1997 he obtained his Habilitation and had the title Privat Docent conferred on him. He returned to South Africa in July 2004.
Michael has worked extensively in the field of clinically-oriented (translational) molecular cell biology, and his current interest include stem cells and the human genome. He is co-responsible for the Southern African Human Genome Programme which was launched in January 2011. Michael leads a national team which assists the National Department of Health with legislation concerning human tissues. He was until recently a member of the National Advisory Committee on Innovation which advises the Minister of Science and Technology, and has developed a 5-day continuing education course in bioentrepreneurship which is now in its 7th year.
Michael has > 200 medical and scientific publications with an H-index of 66, and has received a number of awards for his research. He has been extensively involved in teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and is frequently solicited as a speaker at local and international meetings. He interacts regularly with the media and writes for the lay press on medical and scientific matters.
NoteStreams By Michael Sean Pepper
The words “stem cell research and therapy” evoke a number of responses. In emotionally vulnerable patients, a sense of hope. In scientists, a great deal of excitement about future prospects. In the case of legal experts and ethicists, a need to ensure that patient safety and a spirit of distributive justice are maintained. And in the minds of entrepreneurs, an opportunity to develop a profitable business. Stem cells are the building blocks of our bodies. They are able to differentiate into the more that 200 cell types that make up our bodies. From a fertilized egg to a fully fledged human being which contains billions of cells, the purpose of stem cells during development in the womb is to ensure normal structure and function.