Dr. Magdalene Seiler is PI of a 3-year Early Translational CIRM grant with the goal to demonstrate vision restoration by 3D sheets of hESC-derived sheets of retinal progenitors and RPE (start date March 1, 2014; Co-PI Hans Keirstead). Previously, she was the lead researcher of the retina project of the Keirstead Research group at UC Irvine with the goal of developing human embryonic stem cells to transplantable 3-D sheets of retinal progenitor cells for vision restoration.
She received her Ph.D. in 1985 from the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, with a Graduate fellowship at the Max-Planck-Institute for Neurochemistry in Martinsried (supervisor Martin Schwab). Her thesis focused on the role of neurotrophic factors in the Central Nervous System. She continued with post-doctoral studies in Winston-Salem, NC and Boston, MA (Schepens Eye Research Institute), followed by a 10-year faculty appointment at the University of Louisville and 4 years as Research Assistant Professor at the Doheny Eye Institute, Departments of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences and Cell & Neurobiology at USC, Los Angeles.
Her scientific career concentrated on retinal transplantation, retinal degeneration models, retinal development, stem cells and neurotrophic factors. Along with her colleague, Dr. Robert Aramant, she developed and refined a unique procedure of retinal sheet transplantation which has demonstrated improvement of visual responses in four different retinal degeneration models (RCS rats, rd mice, rhodopsin S334ter-3 and -5 rat models of fast and slow retinal degeneration). This lead to Phase I and II clinical trials that showed visual improvement in RP and AMD patients.
She has published 56 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including one “citation classic” and 20 reviews / book chapters.