Cloning Expert to Speak at UMass Lowell

04/10/2002


LOWELL - A scientific leader in cloning technology will speak next week at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

            Dr. James Robl, who was the first to genetically modify a cow using a novel cell cloning approach, will speak on Thursday, April 18 at 4 p.m. in UMass Lowell's Olsen Hall, Room 503, on Riverside Street.  His presentation is free and open to the public.

            Dr. Robl is the president, chief scientific officer and co-founder of Hematech of Westport, Conn., a company pioneering the development and production of human antibodies through the cloning of genetically modified cows.

Hematech's revolutionary approach involves using cows that have had their immunoglobulin genes replaced with human ones in order to rapidly produce large quantities of human antibodies.  This helps address the severe shortage of human antibodies used for the treatment of diseases such as immune deficiencies, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases and cancer.  It also could result in the development of new therapeutics to fight viral diseases, the replacement of antibiotics for the treatment of bacterial diseases and the neutralization of poisons and animal venom. 

Dr. Robl developed the techniques and holds the patents on animal cloning and genetic engineering that resulted in the first human clone reported by Michael West of Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester.  As a result of licensing Robl's technologies, ACT has developed several applications, including the reproduction of wild oxen that are on the verge of extinction, and allowing people to store their pets' nuclei in a "bank" for potential future use.

Dr. Robl has more than two decades of broad research expertise in academia and industry, having spent 17 years as a professor at UMass Amherst, where he was involved in the start-up of several biotech companies.  He is the author of numerous scientific publications and is president of the International Embryo Transfer Society, an organization that provides a professional forum for the exchange of information on the science of animal embryo manipulation and transfer.

Dr. Robl is the first speaker in a seminar series sponsored by UMass Lowell's College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board.

For more information, contact media@uml.edu or 978-934-3224