Dr. Justin K. Ichida, President and Co-Founder of AcuraStem, Inc was recently profiled by Seema Sharma with Mendeley as a part of their series on stem cells and regenerative medicine. In the interview Dr. Ichida discusses his research, career path, and shares advice for those seeking a transition from postdoctoral to tenure-track.
The article outlines the evolution of his career in synthetic biology from his childhood fascination with Jurrasic Park to his postdoctoral work at Harvard and his current post in the Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine as well as his role at AcuraStem. Much of the conversation centers on the very human aspects of Dr. Ichida’s work and the patients affected by ALS. “Even in the face of this very difficult situation, they are still advocates and they are coming out, raising money and talking to scientists,” Ichida tells Sharma, “It’s really inspiring.”
Dr. Ichida also gives insight into his professional life, crediting a rigorous work ethic, development of new technology, and the development of interpersonal skills with his success in both the academic and start-up spaces. Alongside his groundbreaking research and personal interaction with Los Angeles area ALS patients, Dr. Ichida cites his role at AcuraStem among the highlights of his career. “It’s been a rewarding learning experience,” Dr. Ichida notes, “and a great extension of what we do in the lab so that we can get to the clinic and patients.”