Dr. Jeanne Loring from Scripps Research on Stem Cells

An interview with Dr. Jeanne Loring from Scripps Research on Stem Cells on July 13, 2023 by George Ackerman, Ph.D, J.D.




Dr. Loring is an internationally recognized pioneer in human pluripotent stem cell research,

beginning her work on these cells more than 20 years ago. She has extensive experience in both academia and industry, and is currently Professor emeritus at Scripps Research in La Jolla, CA,

and advisor to Aspen Neuroscience, the company she founded to develop a cell replacement therapy for Parkinson’s disease, using dopamine neurons derived from autologous induced pluripotent stem cells. Her publications include landmark studies of the genomics and epigenetics of pluripotent stem cells, with a focus on safety and efficacy of cell therapies. Dr.


Loring serves on scientific journal editorial boards, grant review committees, scientific advisory and ethics boards, and the BOD for a patient advocacy foundation. She is the recent recipient of a Stem Cell Pioneer award and a Rosalind Franklin Award. She is an American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) Fellow and was named as one of the Most Influential Women in Advanced Therapies. She is interested in the development of broad applications of pluripotent stem cells, including for rescue of endangered species and for investigating the effects of space flight on the nervous system. In the press, she has been called a “stem cell evangelist” and the “stem cell godmother”.


Please tell me a little about your background.


I’m completely hooked on science, and discovered that despite being an introvert, I love explaining it to lay people.  My partnership with Summit for Stem Cell Foundation goes back 11 years and was both the inspiration and the funder of my work developing a way to replace dying dopamine neurons in PD using their own induced pluripotent stem cells turned into neurons.  I’ve attached a WSJ article about our work and other groups like ours.


Can you tell me more about your advocacy?


I think that my upbringing, being the daughter of a PhD exploration geologist and moving from one small mining town to another, made me tolerant of both the highly educated and those who need a lot of help to understand science.  I never fit in at the pretty awful schools I attended, but also was not teased or bullied, because I empathize with people of all sorts, and my enthusiasm for explaining things somehow made me invulnerable. I found out at a young age that I could use my knowledge to help people understand the scientific and medical issues that affect them.


What is your passion and how did you get involved in Parkinson’s awareness and hope for a cure?


My passion is stem cells…has been since I first encountered them as an undergraduate.  I wanted my work to have an impact, and PD was the obvious choice for my expertise in stem cells, neurobiology, and biotechnology.



What type of goals do individuals with Parkinson’s have when working with you?


They want to learn about how evidence-based science works.
What effect can your research have on an individual with Parkinson’s?


Understanding your disease and how therapies are being designed to treat it – people have told me that they feel a sense of calm after learning about science.


What would you like to see as a future goal for your programs?


With Dr. Jenifer Raub, I would like to launch a “wellness” center for people with PD…it would provide education, a social network, and access to professional therapists and even financial advisors.


What events do you participate in?


Talks to lay people, advocates, and families of people with PD, events organized by Summit for Stem Cell Foundation, like fundraising dinners, concerts, theater performances, and my favorite, the webinars every few months that I moderate, that reach hundreds of people.  They are given by scientists, ethicists, and advocates.
 How does Scripps Research also assist the caregivers?


The caregivers are always included in the events. We will have support for caregivers as well as the people they care for at the wellness center.


How can someone get in touch?  What is your website?


If you had one final statement or quote you could leave for the Parkinson’s community, what would it be?


Learn and exercise.  Dopamine levels rise when the mind and body are active.