Department of Radiology

Awards and Honors: September 3, 2010

Posted 2:15 PM, September 1, 2010, by jaruiz

Contag_100.jpgChristopher Contag, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics (neonatology); associate professor of microbiology & immunology; and associate professor (by courtesy) of radiology, has been awarded a grant by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to fund his stem cell research; he is one of four Stanford researchers to receive an award from the CIRM. According to a recent CIRM press release, "CIRM Allocates $25 Million to Overcome Immune Rejection of Stem Cell Transplantation Therapies," funded research will "develop strategies for overcoming rejection, eliminating potential barriers to moving stem cell therapies to the clinic."

Dr. Contag received both his BS (biology) and PhD (microbiology) from the University of Minnesota. He began his career at Stanford as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology studying mother to infant transmission of HIV. This field of study brought him to the Department of Pediatrics, first as a pediatrics fellow in Division of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine, and then as an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics, specializing in neonatal and developmental medicine. In this position he sought to pull together the fields of microbiology, pediatrics, and radiology in projects aimed at imaging diseases of the neonate.

Currently, Dr. Contag serves as the associate chief (research) of the . . .

Division of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine and the director of both the Stanford Center for Innovation in In Vivo Imaging (SCI3) as well as the Stanford Center for Photomedicine. He is also the co-director of the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS). As director of the Molecular Biophotonics and Imaging Laboratory (MBIL), Dr. Contag, along with his colleagues, has used imaging to reveal the kinetics of stem cell engraftment and hematopoietic reconstitution, elucidating the nature of minimal residual disease states following cancer therapy and identifying tissue sites that pathogens use to evade the host immune response. Much of this work has used optical methods of molecular imaging, which are extremely powerful in preclinical models and have tremendous potential, but the Contag laboratory seeks to use a wide range of molecular imaging tools to study biology in living animals and humans.

Dr. Contag and his colleagues both develop and use these tools to address biological questions in a multimodality format. The focus of their efforts is the cells and molecules that control the body’s response to insult and that enable the regeneration of damaged tissues and organs. This has led to the development of miniaturized microscopes that can be used for early cancer detection, in vivo studies of cell biology, and image-guided resection.

As part of the recently awarded CIRM grant, Dr. Contag will work with his colleagues, Dr. Michael Bachmann, research associate in the Contag Lab, and Dr. Minnie Sarwall, professor of pediatrics (nephrology), on immunomodulators that can control graft rejection. These will be screened using an in vivo gene screen, where effector proteins are functionally selected in transplanted stem cells. This will reveal key molecules that control immune recognition and rejection, and will lead to selection of molecular targets for controlling rejection of stem cells and newly regenerated tissues.

Dr. Contag has authored over 200 publications; his other recent awards include the Achievement Award from the Society of Molecular Imaging, the opening plenary lecture at the European Society for Molecular Imaging in Warsaw, Poland, and an invited lecture at the Regenerative Medicine Conference in Hilton Head, South Carolina.



Post a comment

Remember Me?

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

Stanford Medicine Resources:

Footer Links: