Jan Nolta Lab in the UC Davis Medical Center
Institute for Regenerative Cures - 2016
UC Davis HD Team and Collaborators 2015
HD Thursday Lab Meeting Group 2014
HD Thursday Lab Meeting Group 2012
Photos and biosketches of Nolta Lab HD team members- 2014
I have worked with human mesenchymal stem cells/marrow stromal cells (MSCs) for over 25 years. My career has centered around genetically engineering MSCs to deliver factors to heal damaged tissues and to treat disease. We specialize in "bench to bedside" science and clinical trials.
Since 2007 my laboratory has focused on using MSCs to treat Huntington's disease. I initially focused our efforts on this disease due to the patient advocates who brought me into the field, especially Les Pue and Judy Roberson, the amazing women who run our Movement Disorders Clinic at UC Davis, Vicki Wheelock and Terry Tempkin, and wonderful members of the Northern California HDSA.
I have many friends and loved ones in the community and we fight together every day toward developing improved therapies and raising awareness. It is our primary focus, throughout a large team of over 25 scientists and MDs working together toward better treatments for HD and JHD at UC Davis.
Kari Pollock, M.S., received her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from UC Davis followed by a master’s degree from UC Davis in Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology. She put herself through school working as a veterinary technician and is a truly gifted scientist and surgeon. After graduation from the master’s program, she has been thrilled to launch her career in science as part of the internationally recognized Huntington’s disease team headed by Drs. Jan Nolta and Vicki Wheelock. Kari’s fascination with stem cell research grows daily due to its limitless therapeutic potential.
Gaela Mitchell, B.S., thought she wanted a career making maps using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. But along the way, she got a taste of stem cell research and never looked back. She began her foray into stem cell science as a volunteer in the Nolta lab while earning a bachelor’s degree from UC Davis in Biological Sciences with a medical microbiology emphasis. "The first time I generated a neuron was the most amazing moment of my life," she says. Her brilliance and enthusiasm did not go unnoticed, and Dr. Nolta was thrilled to then hire Gaela as a junior scientist the second the ink dried on her diploma. A philanthropist heard about Gaela’s achievements and dedication and stepped up to fund her position full-time.
Whitney Cary- HD team member- iPSC, Neural stem cells, Medium spiny neuron cultures
Whitney Cary, B.S. is a freshly minted college graduate from the University of California, Berkeley. She first became interested in stem cell research due to its unlimited potential in treating and curing neurodegenerative diseases such as HD. Dr. Nolta only needed to speak with her once to recognize both her passion and her incredible intelligence and gladly offered her the opportunity to work as a volunteer researcher. Since that time, Whitney has proven so valuable that even before she graduated, she was offered a job in the Nolta lab as an assistant researcher.
Once the euphoria of having survived her undergraduate education wears off, she hopes to jump feet first into a Ph.D. program at UC Davis during which time she will continue to spread her irrepressible enthusiasm for stem cell research throughout the Nolta lab and beyond.
Karen Pepper- Vector Core Director
Karen Pepper, pictured with beloved lab mascot sweetpea the bearded dragon, is an important member of the HD team because she makes all of the RNAi and BDNF gene transfer constructs for our research and those that will be used in future clinical trials.
Ms. Pepper has worked with Drs. Nolta and Bauer, and Program Manager Annett, for almost 20 years, and has made over 1000 gene therapy constructs, many of them used in human clinical trials.
Olson SD, Kambal A, Pollock K, Mitchell GM, Stewart H, Kalomoiris S, Cary W, Nacey C, Pepper K, NoltaJA.
Mol Cell Neurosci. 2011 Dec 8;49(3):271-281. [Epub ahead of print]
Olson SD, Pollock K, Kambal A, Cary W, Mitchell GM, Tempkin J, Stewart H, McGee J, Bauer G, Kim HS, Tempkin T, Wheelock V, Annett G, Dunbar G, NoltaJA.
Mol Neurobiol. 2012 Feb;45(1):87-98. Epub 2011 Dec 9.
Feng JF, Liu J, Zhang XZ, Zhang L, Jiang JY, NoltaJ, Zhao M.
Stem Cells. 2012 Feb;30(2):349-55. doi: 10.1002/stem.779.
Jung Y, Bauer G, NoltaJA.
Stem Cells. 2012 Jan;30(1):42-7. doi: 10.1002/stem.727.
Fierro FA, Kalomoiris S, Sondergaard CS, NoltaJA.
Stem Cells. 2011 Nov;29(11):1727-37. doi: 10.1002/stem.720.