2017 Professor Aaron D. Gitler, Ph.D.
Aaron D. Gitler is Professor of Genetics at Stanford University. He received his B.S. degree from Penn State University and did his Ph.D. studies on cardiovascular development in the laboratory of Dr. Jonathan Epstein at the University of Pennsylvania. Then he performed his postdoctoral training with Dr. Susan Lindquist at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and MIT. In 2007, he established his laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania and moved to Stanford in 2012. His laboratory has been using a combination of yeast and human genetics approaches to investigate pathogenic mechanisms of human neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson's disease. He was a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, a Rita Allen Scholar and a recipient of the NIH Director's New Innovator Award, and the NIH NINDS Research Program Award.
Gitler identified mutations in the ataxin-2 gene as a major genetic contributor to ALS. His team recently demonstrated that inhibiting ataxin-2 markedly extends lifespan and improves motor performance in a mouse model of ALS, setting the stage for testing this therapeutic approach in human ALS. Gitler has also uncovered the mechanism by which mutations in other genes cause ALS and has discovered a broad role for RNA-binding proteins in ALS and related human neurological diseases.
Most recently, he was the co-author of an article in Scientific American (June 2017) on ALS research.
Dr. Gitler was also featured in the ALS Association website:
Dr. Gitler's Stanford faculty bio: