Jump to content

Michael D. West

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Michael D. West
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materRensselaer Polytechnic Institute (B.S.)
Andrews University (M.S.)
Baylor College of Medicine (Ph.D.)[2]
Known forFounder and CEO of AgeX Therapeutics, former CEO and co-CEO of BioTime, Founder of Geron Corporation, former CEO of Advanced Cell Technology, research in biogerontology, stem cell science, cellular aging, and telomeres

Michael D. West (born in Niles, Michigan on 28 April 1953) is an American biogerontologist, and a pioneer in stem cells,[3] cellular aging and telomerase.[4] He is the founder and CEO of AgeX Therapeutics,[5][6] a startup focused on the field of experimental gerontology.

Early life and education


West was born in Niles, Michigan, to a wealthy family which ran an automobile leasing business. After graduating from Niles Senior High School, West earned a BS in psychology from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1976. He then returned to Niles to help run the family business before resuming academic studies. He earned an MS in biology from Andrews University in 1982. That same year, he joined the laboratory of Samuel Goldstein, a molecular gerontologist at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and began to research the molecular biology of aging. Following a clash with Goldstein over a series of experiments in which he demonstrated that results which Goldstein had published in Cell were experimental artifacts, he transferred to the Baylor College of Medicine, where he worked in the laboratory of another molecular gerontologist, James Smith, and graduated with a PhD in cell biology in 1989. He did postdoctoral research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.[7][8]



Prior to joining BioTime, West was chairman of the board, chief scientific officer and CEO of Advanced Cell Technology (ACT), another biotechnology company focused on stem cell research. ACT later changed its name to Ocata Therapeutics, and was acquired by Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas Pharma for US$379M or $8.50 per share in February 2016.

Prior that, West was founder, director, and chief scientific officer of Geron, for which he secured venture capital investment from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Venrock[9] and Domain Associates.[10] At Geron, West initiated and managed programs in telomere biology relating to aging, cancer and human embryonic stem cell technology.[11]

West organized the first collaborative effort to isolate human pluripotent (embryonic) stem cells for the purpose of manufacturing products in regenerative medicine in collaboration with James Thomson at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, John Gearhart at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine,[12] and Roger Pedersen at the University of California, San Francisco.[13]

In their telomerase research, West and colleagues at Geron cloned the RNA component of telomerase[14] and collaborated with Thomas Cech (winner of 1989 Nobel Prize in Chemistry), with whom they cloned the catalytic component of the enzyme telomerase,[15] and sponsored collaborative research in the laboratory of Carol Greider, then at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.[16] Geron published evidence of the role of telomerase in cancer and cell immortalization in collaboration with Woodring Wright and Jerry Shay at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.[17]

For the company's Scientific and Clinical Advisory Board, he recruited Günter Blobel (winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physiology),[18] Leonard Hayflick, Carol Greider (winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine), James Watson (winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize in medicine), and others.[19]

West has been a keynote speaker at events including World Stem Cell and is associated with 146 patents in the United States,[20] Australia, Japan, and elsewhere.[21][better source needed]

West is a member of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation's scientific advisory board.[22] He is a signatory of the Scientists’ Open Letter on Cryonics.[23]





West has authored and co-edited books on topics including animal cloning, aging, biogerontology, stem cells, stem cell biology, and regenerative medicine.

  • 2002 Principles of Cloning ISBN 0-12-174597-X
  • 2003 The Immortal Cell, by Michael D. West, Doubleday ISBN 978-0-385-50928-2
  • 2004 Handbook of Stem Cells: Volume 1 Embryonic Stem Cells ISBN 0-12-436642-2
  • 2004 Handbook of Stem Cells: Volume 2 Adult and Fetal Stem Cells ISBN 0-12-436644-9
  • 2006 Essentials of Stem Cell Biology ISBN 0-12-088442-9
  • 2010 The Future of Aging ISBN 9048139988
  • 2010 The Future of Aging: Pathways to Human Life Extension ISBN 978-90-481-3998-9

See also



  1. ^ "Who Is Doctor West, And Why Has He Got George Bush So Ticked Off?". Fortune Small Business. April 1, 2002.
  2. ^ "Michael D. West Ph.D.: Executive Profile & Biography". Bloomberg. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  3. ^ "On Michael D. West and the Medical Crusade to Defeat Death". Trinity International University blog. May 9, 2011.
  4. ^ "A Blood Test Offers Clues to Longevity". New York Times. May 18, 2011.
  5. ^ "The Smart Money Is Piling Into Regenerative Medicine". Forbes.com. April 14, 2017.
  6. ^ "AgeX Therapeutics lands $10 mln". PE HUB. August 17, 2017.
  7. ^ Michael D. West (1953- )
  8. ^ "MICHAEL DAVID WEST, B.S., M.S., Ph.D." (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2022-11-25. Retrieved 2022-11-25.
  9. ^ "SEC Schedule 13G, filed Feb. 17, 1999".
  10. ^ "Geron Corporation 10K 1996".
  11. ^ "Bloomberg Longevity Economy Conference 2013 Panelist Bio". Archived from the original on 2013-08-03.
  12. ^ Gearhart J (December 12, 2008). "A decade of stem-cell research. An interview with John Gearhart, Director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, USA". EMBO Reports. 10 (1): 12–6. doi:10.1038/embor.2008.235. PMC 2613216. PMID 19079128.
  13. ^ "Stem-Cell Researcher Plans Move to U.K., Citing Unfriendly Political Climate in U.S." The Wall Street Journal. July 16, 2001.
  14. ^ Feng, J., Funk, W.D., Wang, S-S, Weinrich, S.L., Avilion, A.A., Chiu, C-P., Adams, R., Chang, E., Allsopp, R.C., Siyuan Le, J-Y., West, M.D., Harley, C.B., Andrews, W.H., Greider, C.W., Villeponteau, B.V. (1 September 1995). "The RNA Component of Human Telomerase". Science. 269 (5228): 1236–1241. Bibcode:1995Sci...269.1236F. doi:10.1126/science.7544491. PMID 7544491. S2CID 9440710.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ "Biotechnology Company Says It Has Cloned a Cancer Gene". The New York Times. August 18, 1997.
  16. ^ Hall, Stephen (2003). "Merchants of Immortality: Chasing the New Dream of Life Extension". Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0547561571. Page 320.
  17. ^ Kim, N.W., Piatyszek, M.A., Prowse, K.R., Harley, C.B., West, M.D., Ho, P.L.C., Coviello, G.M., Wright, W.E., Weinrich, S.L., and Shay, J.W. (23 December 1994). "Specific association of human telomerase activity with immortal cells and cancer". Science. 266 (5193): 2011–14. Bibcode:1994Sci...266.2011K. doi:10.1126/science.7605428. PMID 7605428. S2CID 11965342.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ Hall, Stephen (2003). "Merchants of Immortality: Chasing the New Dream of Life Extension". Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0547561571. Page 151.
  19. ^ "Geron Corporation 10K 1996".
  20. ^ "Google Patent Search: West, Michael D".
  21. ^ "Michael David West CV" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-07-26. Retrieved 2013-09-15.
  22. ^ "About Alcor: The World Leader in Cryonics". alcor.org. Retrieved May 14, 2023.
  23. ^ "Scientists' Open Letter on Cryonics". Biostasis. Retrieved May 14, 2023.