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Dr. Franklin West is a world leading expert in stem cell biology with a focus in stem cell reprogramming and stem cell therapies for neural injury and diseases including stroke and traumatic brain injury. He was named one of the nation's top scholars under 40 by Georgia Trends and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazines and has been featured on NPR, CNN and FOX News. Dr. West received a bachelor of science in biology from Morehouse College and a doctorate in stem cell biology from the University of Georgia, where he now holds position as an Associate Professor. Dr. West was a MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers) U-Star Research Fellow and a David and Lucille Packard Research Fellow at Morehouse College. Dr. West sits on the University of Georgia Research Foundation and steering committee of UGA’s Regenerative Bioscience Center. He also serves as a regular reviewer for granting agencies including the National Institutes of Health. He has published numerous book chapters and scientific articles in international scientific peer-reviewed journals including Cell, Stem Cells and Scientific Reports. Dr. West has produced the first live chimeric pigs from induced pluripotent stem cells, has developed novel stem cell to germ cell culture systems and a first-of-its-kind U.S. swine stroke model that has major implications on the treatment of human stroke patients.
B.S., Morehouse College
Ph.D., University of Georgia
Reproductive challenges in both human and livestock populations are of significant concern and are often a direct result of abnormal germ cell (oocyte and sperm) development. Aberrant germ cell development significantly affects human fertility, is the leading cause of early pregnancy loss and results in birth defects such as Down’s syndrome and Klinefelter’s. Failed gametogenesis in livestock has significantly increased because of intense selection for commercial traits and decreased emphasis on reproductive success. Livestock sub-fertility and sterility, spontaneous fetal abortion, decrease litter size and abnormal offspring have all been linked to errors in germ cell development and are a significant source of lost potential income. To address aberrant germ cell development, my lab has developed novel technologies enabling systematic study of gametogenesis in humans and livestock including 1) A robust in vitro pluripotent stem cell to germ cell differentiation culture system capable of generating large numbers of germ like-cells and 2) the development of the only known chimera competent porcine induced pluripotent stem cell line. Utilizing stem cells and advanced molecular and genetic tools, we can address our long term goal of identifying and understand germ cell regulatory signaling in humans and domestic livestock species that could provide invaluable insight into the mechanistic causes of abnormal gametogenesis. Studying important germ cell signaling in human and livestock stem cell derived germ cells may one day lead to the discovery of new targets for drug and toxicology screens, a better understanding of the etiology of diseases caused by errors in germ cell differentiation or even assisted reproductive technologies in domestic livestock species.
Selected Recent Publications
Neural Stem Cell Therapy for Stroke: A Multi-Mechanistic Approach to Restoring Neurological Function.” Emily W. Baker, Holly A. Kinder, Franklin D. West. Brain and Behavior. [Epub ahead of print 2019 Feb].
Isolation and Differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells from Broiler Chicken Compact Bones.” Roshan Adhikari, Chongxiao Chen, Elizabeth Waters, Franklin West and Woo Kyun Kim. Frontiers in Physiology. 2019 Jan 22;9:1892.
The Pig as a Preclinical TBI Model: Current Models, Functional Outcome Measures, and Translational Detection Strategies.” Holly A. Kinder, Emily W. Baker, Franklin D. West. Neural Regeneration Research. [Epub ahead of print 2018 Dec]. 2019 Mar;14(3):413-424.
Gray and White Brain Matter Exhibit Distinct Alterations in Metabolism After Controlled Cortical Impact in a Piglet Model.” Emily W. Baker, W. Matthew Henderson, Holly A. Kinder, Jessica M. Hutcheson, and Franklin D. West. PLoS One. 2018 Oct 31;13(10):e0206481.
Controlled Cortical Impact Severity Results in Graded Cellular, Tissue and Functional Responses in a Piglet Traumatic Brain Injury Model.” Emily W. Baker*, Holly A. Kinder*, Jessica M. Hutcheson, Kylee Jo J. Duberstein, Simon R. Platt, Elizabeth W. Howerth, Franklin D. West. Journal of Neurotrauma. [Epub ahead of print 2018 Jun]. 2019 Jan 1;36(1):61-73.
LiF@SiO2 nanoparticles for controlled lithium release and osteoarthritis therapy.” Trever Todd, Zhenhui Lu, Benjamin Cline, Jinmin Zhao, Weizhong Zhang, Hongmin Chen, Anil Kumar, Wen Jiang, Franklin West, Samuel Franklin, Li Zheng, and Jin Xie. Nano Research. [Epub ahead of print 2018 Apr]. 2018. Oct;11(10): 5751-5760.
Human neural stem cell extracellular vesicles improve recovery in a porcine model of ischemic stroke.” Robin L. Webb*, Erin E. Kaiser*, Brian J. Jurgielewicz, Samantha E. Spellicy, Shelley L. Scoville, Tyler A. Thompson, Raymond L. Swetenburg, David C. Hess, Franklin D. West and Steve L. Stice. Stroke. 2018 May;49(5):1248-1256.
Human iNPC therapy leads to improvement in functional neurologic outcomes in a pig ischemic stroke model.” Vivian W. Lau, Simon R. Platt, Harrison E. Grace, Emily W. Baker, and Franklin D. West. Brain and Behavior. [Epub ahead of print 2018 Apr]. 2018 Apr 18;8(5).
Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Neural Stem Cell Therapy Enhances Recovery in an Ischemic Stroke Pig Model.” Emily W. Baker, Simon R. Platt, Vivian W. Lau, Harrison E. Grace, Shannon P. Holmes, Liya Wang, Kylee Jo Duberstein, Elizabeth W. Howerth, Holly A. Kinder, Steve L. Stice, David C. Hess, Hui Mao, and Franklin D. West. Scientific Reports. [Epub ahead of print 2017 Mar 7]. 2017 Aug 30;7(1):10075.
Pig Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Derived Neural Rosettes Parallel Human Differentiation into Sensory Neural Subtypes.” Robin L. Webb, Amalia Gallegos-Cardenas, Colette N. Miller, Nicholas J. Solomotis, Hong-Xiang Liu, Franklin D. West and Steve L. Stice. Cellular Reprogramming. [Epub ahead of print 2017 Mar 7]. 2017 Apr;19(2):88-94.
Episomal Vector Restores LDLR Function in Monogenic Deficient iPSC-Derived Hepatocytes.” ** Venkat M. Ramakrishnan*, Jeong-Yeh Yang*, Braden R. Bocard, Kevin T. Tien, John G. Maijub, Patrick O. Burchell, Stuart K. Williams, Marvin E. Morris, James B. Hoying, Richard Wade-Martins, Franklin D. West, and Nolan L. Boyd. Scientific Reports. 2015 Aug 26;5:13231. *Contributed Equally to this work.
Delayed Newcastle Disease Virus Replication using RNA Interference to Target the Nucleoprotein.” Jessica Hutcheson, Leonardo Susta, Steven L Stice, Claudio L Afonso and Franklin D West. Biologicals. [Epub ahead of print 2015 June 4]. 2015 Jul;43(4):274-80.
Chimeric Non-Viral Minicircle Generation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Compatible with Production of Chimeric Chickens.” Ping Yu, Yangqing Lu, Brian J. Jordan4, Yubing Liu, Jeong-Yeh Yang, Jessica M. Hutcheson, Christina L. Ethridge, Jennifer L. Mumaw, Holly A. Kinder, Robert B. Beckstead, Steven L. Stice and Franklin D. West. Cellular Reprogramming. [Epub ahead of print 2014 August 1]. 2014 Oct;16(5):366-78.
Induced Pluripotency in Chicken Embryonic Fibroblast Results in a Germ Cell Fate.” Yangqing Lu, Franklin D. West, Brian J. Jordan, Erin T. Jordan, Rachel West, Ping Yu, Ying He, Miguel A. Barrios, Ziying Zhu, James N. Petitte, Robert B. Beckstead, Steven L. Stice. Stem Cells and Development (Journal Cover Image). [Epub ahead of print 2014 April 10]. 2014 Aug 1;23(15):1755-64.
Development and Characterization of a Yucatan Miniature Biomedical Pig Permanent Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion Stroke Model. ” Simon R Platt, Shannon P Holmes, Elizabeth W Howerth, Kylee Jo J Duberstein, C Robert Dove, Holly A Kinder, Emily L Wyatt, Amie V Linville, Vivian W Lau, Steven L Stice, William D Hill, David C Hess, Franklin D West. Experimental & Translational Stroke Medicine. 2014 Mar 23;6(1):5.
Comparative Gene Expression Signature of Pig, Human and Mouse Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Lines Reveals Insight into Pig Pluripotency Gene Networks.” Yajun Liu, Yangyang Ma, Jeong-Yeh Yang, De Cheng, Xiaopeng Liu, Xiaoling Ma, Franklin D. West, Huayan Wang. Stem Cell Research. [Epub ahead of print 2013 December 13]. 2014 Apr;10(2):162-76.
Gait Analysis in a Pre- and Post-Ischemic Stroke Biomedical Pig Model.” Kylee Jo Duberstein, Simon R. Platt, Shannon P. Holmes, C. Robert Dove, Elizabeth W. Howerth, Marc Kent, Steven L. Stice, William D. Hill, David C. Hess and Franklin D. West. Physiology & Behavior. [Epub ahead of print 2013 November 25]. 2014 Feb 10;125:8-16.
SSEA4 Positive Pig Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Are Primed for Differentiation into Neural Cells.” Jeong-Yeh Yang, Jennifer L. Mumaw, Yubing Liu, Steve L. Stice and Franklin D. West. Cell Transplantation. [Epub ahead of print 2012 October 03]. 2013; 22 (6):945-59.