Robert Sackstein, M.D., Ph.D., is Dean of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and Senior Vice-President for Health Affairs at Florida International University. He is a Professor Emeritus at the Harvard Medical School, where he continues to serve as the Director of the Harvard Career Development Program in Translational Glycobiology. Dr. Sackstein’s clinical expertise is bone marrow transplantation, and he is a widely recognized for his contributions to cell-based therapeutics. His scientific research efforts have defined the molecular processes that regulate the movement of cells in blood flow into different tissues throughout the body, and clinical applications of his research findings have led to improved outcomes for patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation, and for patients suffering from a variety of illnesses including cancer, autotimmune conditions, and osteoporosis.
Dr. Sackstein was born in Cuba and immigrated to Miami with his family in 1960. He attended Dade County public schools, and received his undergraduate degree in Biology from Harvard College, Summa cum Laude. Dr. Sackstein then obtained both his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Harvard Medical School, where, upon graduation, he received the James Tolbert Shipley Prize for outstanding research. Dr. Sackstein was bestowed the Young Investigator Award from the International Society of Experimental Hematology for his pioneering work in identifying how blood-forming stem cells enter the bone marrow, the critical first hurdle in the success of bone marrow transplantation. These efforts placed him at the forefront of the field known as of “translational glycobiology” and he is widely recognized for inventing a platform glycoengineering technology (known as “GPS”) that pilots the movement of blood-borne cells to sites of tissue injury. Based on his contributions to medicine and to medical science, Dr. Sackstein was elected as a member of the prestigious Association of American Physicians for his “pursuit of medical knowledge, and the advancement through experimentation and discovery of basic and clinical science and their application to clinical medicine”. Recently, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Murcia (Spain) for “improving the efficacy and safety of cell-based therapies, thereby enabling curative-intent treatments for a wide range of disabling and life-threatening diseases.”
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