Ann A. Kiessling, Ph.D
March 29, 1942
|Occupation||Stem cell researcher|
|Known for||Discovery of reverse transcriptase activity in normal human cells, founder of the Special Program of Assisted Reproduction, Director of the Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation|
Ann A. Kiessling is an American reproductive biologist and one of the leaders in human parthenogenic stem cell research at The Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation. She was an Associate Professor in teaching hospitals of Harvard Medical School (Brigham and Women's Hospital, Faulkner Hospital, New England Deaconess, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) from 1985 until 2012.
Kiessling was born in Baker City, Oregon, USA, as Ann Anderson. Her father, Col. William C. Anderson, was a decorated squadron commander in the US Air Force during World War II. She graduated from Klamath Falls High School in 1960 and attended University of Virginia where she received the first of her two bachelor's degrees in Nursing. In 1966 she received her second bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Central Washington University where she also received her master's degree in Organic Chemistry in 1967. In 1971 she earned her Ph.D from Oregon State University in Biochemistry and Biophysics. She did postdoctoral research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and University of California, San Diego. Kiessling is mother of three daughters and a son.
Kiessling is noted for her discovery of reverse transcriptase activity in normal human cells (Kiessling & Goulian). This report pioneered the importance of naturally occurring retrovirus sequences in human genes, now thought to be important to the genetic plasticity involved in human evolution and biology. Prior to this discovery, it had been assumed that reverse transcriptase was an enzyme found only in retroviruses(such as HIV). To understand the normal biologic role of reverse transcriptase, Kiessling began to study eggs and early cleaving embryos. Her dual interests in virology and reproductive biology led to research in semen transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and the creation of the first laboratory for Human In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) in Oregon in the early 1980s. Harvard Medical School recruited Kiessling in 1985, where she conducted research until 2011. Kiessling currently conducts research at the Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation.
The need to conduct biomedical research in areas not funded by the federal government led to the incorporation of the Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation. The Foundation's controversial Special Program of Assisted Reproduction (SPAR) has helped more than 170 couples affected by HIV disease have healthy babies. Because of this success, more than 75 fertility centers throughout the country have implemented the SPAR program, allowing couples to seek care close to home.
The techniques developed for the Special Program of Assisted Reproduction have been extended to other diseases of the male genitourinary tract, such as prostatitis and bladder infections. Expertise in human egg biology led Kiessling to develop the country's first human egg donor program for stem cell research in 2000. It remains a research focus today.
Among the publications by Kiessling is the first comprehensive look at the influence of accurate science terminology on laws titled, "What is an Embryo," published by the Connecticut Law Review along with rejoinders by Harold Shapiro, Prof John A. Robertson, Prof. Lars Noah, and Father Kevin P. Quinn. The law review addresses the controversy of all of the entities that are currently called embryos with regards to embryonic stem cell research legislation around the world.
Kiessling has been the focus of articles in The Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press and Newsweek. In 2003, Kiessling wrote Human Embryonic Stem Cells: An Introduction to the Science and Therapeutic Potential, the first textbook on the controversial topic.
Kiessling is a member of the California (California Constitution Article XXXV) and Connecticut Stem Cell Research Advisory Boards, and a member of the Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committees (ESCROS) for Harvard University, Joslin Diabetes Center and Children's Hospital.
In 2007, Kiessling's Special Program of Assisted Reproduction was presented with the Technology Prize Paper Award by The American Society for Reproductive Medicine. In 2009 Kiessling received the Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award for Biotechnology and Medicine. Central Washington University presented her with the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award, and in 2011 she was honored with the first ever University of Virginia, School of Nursing, Alumni Achievement Award.
Kiessling has published more than 100 scientific papers and given more than 60 lectures to audiences around the world. Selected publications are listed below.
- Loutradis D, John D, Kiessling AA (September 1987). "Hypoxanthine causes a 2-cell block in random-bred mouse embryos". Biology of Reproduction 37 (2): 311–6. doi:10.1095/biolreprod37.2.311. PMID 3676390.
- Goldman DS, Kiessling AA, Millette CF, Cooper GM (July 1987). "Expression of c-mos RNA in germ cells of male and female mice". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 84 (13): 4509–13. doi:10.1073/pnas.84.13.4509. PMC 305119. PMID 2955407.
- Borzy MS, Connell RS, Kiessling AA (1988). "Detection of human immunodeficiency virus in cell-free seminal fluid". Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 1 (5): 419–24. PMID 2464685.
- O'Keefe SJ, Wolfes H, Kiessling AA, Cooper GM (September 1989). "Microinjection of antisense c-mos oligonucleotides prevents meiosis II in the maturing mouse egg". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 86 (18): 7038–42. doi:10.1073/pnas.86.18.7038. PMC 297988. PMID 2476810.
- Kiessling AA (2004). "What is an embryo?". Connecticut Law Review 36 (4): 1051–92. PMID 15868674.
- Kiessling AA, Goulian M (June 1979). "Detection of reverse transcriptase activity in human cells". Cancer Research 39 (6 Pt 1): 2062–9. PMID 87260.
- "About the director". Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- "Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation – Official Website". Archived from the original on 7 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-13.
- "Pregnancies & Births". SPAR - Special Program of Assisted Reproduction. Bedford Research Clinical Laboratory. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- "Part Five: The Fertility Race - HIV And Fertility By Stephen Smith – American Public Radio Works". Retrieved 2007-04-13.
- "Pregnancies & Births". Collaborating fertility centers. Bedford Research Clinical Laboratory. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- "Egg Donor Program History & Overview". Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- Kiessling, Ann (Summer 2004). "What Is An Embryo?" (PDF). Connecticut Law Review 36 (4): 1051–93. PMID 15868674. Retrieved 2007-04-13.[dead link]
- "What is an Embryo? Law Review". Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- "Jones and Bartlett Topics in Biology Series – Human Embryonic Stem Cells, Second Edition Text Book". Retrieved 2007-04-13.
- "Connecticut Stem Cell Research Program Committee". Archived from the original on 5 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-05.
- "Harvard University's Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee". Archived from the original on 2 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-05.
- "The Stem Cell Program at Children's Hospital Boston". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-06-05.
- "The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) 2007 Conference".
- "2009 Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award". Archived from the original on 13 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-09.
- "COTS 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award". Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-20.
- "2010 Alumni Achievement Award". Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation
- Harvard Medical School, Laboratory of Reproductive Biology
- Special Program of Assisted Reproduction at the Bedford Research Foundation
- NOVA Interview, "An Alternative To Cloning", April 1, 2005