Marcel Daadi, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Leader of SNPRC Regenerative Medicine & Aging Unit | Disease Intervention & Prevention, Faculty, Southwest National Primate Research Center

Research Focus

Dr. Daadi is an expert in regulated translational research and has developed therapeutic neural stem cell lines (NSC) for clinical use in Parkinson’s  disease,  stroke, and to target brain tumors in both industrial and academic settings. He discovered a novel technique of engineering these stem cell lines from pluripotent human embryonic stem cells and continues to develop this therapeutic cell line for clinical use.

Dr. Daadi came to Texas Biomed in 2014 and is the team leader for the SNPRC Regenerative Medicine and Aging research unit. Results from his studies are the foundation of translational research and help to repair diseased or injured brain through transplantation of highly purified NSCs and stimulation of internal repair mechanisms.

Dr. Daadi’s current focus is on:

  • Parkinson’s  disease, Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Human neural stem cells (NSCs)
  • Non human primate studies

Previously, Dr. Daadi worked as Senior Scientist and group leader to start the NSC program at Layton Biosciences, the world’s first biotech company to develop and manufacture a neural product to treat stroke patients. While at Stanford University, he started a human embryonic stem cell program to develop therapeutic cell lines for treating Parkinson’s disease and stroke. He has more than 20 years of expertise in stem cell research.

Inside The Lab

My research interests span both basic biology and translational research. We are pursuing reprogramming and genome-editing technologies to  model neurological disorders in  vitro  and  to understand  mechanisms mediating disease development   and degenerative processes following injury or disease.

Our group is currently focused on developing technologies to establish pluripotent stem cells, isolate self-renewable multipotent NSCs and generate specific neuronal lineages, such as dopaminergic neurons for treating Parkinson’s disease. We explore the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the generation and differentiation of multipotent human NSCs from human pluripotent stem cells.

Our lab is currently testing the safety and efficacy of therapeutic cell lines through use of relevant neurological disease animal models by applying cell delivery  and  multimodal molecular imaging techniques.

As  part of the SNPRC, we are also focused on preclinical development  using a non-human primate model of Parkinson’s disease, stroke, MS and TBI. We are genetically engineering NSCs to investigate the role of optogenetics on their fate after grafting. These studies will help determine the mechanisms mediating stem cell graft–host interactions in enhancing neuro-regeneration and restoring function.

Main Technologies And Methods Used

  • Stem cell isolation, cloning, perpetuation and differentiation
  • Induced pluripotent stem cells-based disease modeling
  • Neural stem cell manufacturing
  • Neurophysiological recording
  • Animal models of neurological disorders
  • MRI-based neurosurgical interventions
  • Multimodal molecular imaging