Dr. Steindler is the former Executive Director of the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute of the University of Florida, and he is currently the Joseph J. Bagnor/Shands Professor of Medical Research in the Department of Neurosurgery, University of Florida College of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Francisco and did postdoctoral studies at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Germany. He serves on the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure Foundation and Exosome Diagnostics, and he has as served or serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including the: Journal of Neuroscience, GLIA, Experimental Neurology, the Journal of Neurocytology, Gene Expression, Brain Research, and the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease. His research focuses on the use of stem cells and regenerative medicine for a variety of neurological diseases, including Parkinson’s Disease and brain cancer.
A major goal of this work is to create better models of pediatric and adult cancer that could be used for both better understanding disease as well as for screening new drug and other therapeutic approaches. The ultimate goal of this work is to have surrogate drug screening models for a patient’s constantly changing cancer such that it will be possible to use in vitro and in vivo bioassays of disease for better modeling of disease origin, progression and treatment. Personalized medicine will one day soon exploit a surrogate system that reliably recapitulates disease such that test tube experiments can be ponstantly readjusted to accommodate an ever evolving disease course and treatment of a unique patient that warrants his/her own model system, thus avoiding having the patient be a“guinea pig” while their now chronic disease is managed via discoveries made in tissue culture “out of body” systems. We hope to one day soon have personalized therapies for cancer as well as degenerative and immune diseases, via studying cells and molecules that both denote the disease as well as treat it, to have all life threatening diseases be treatable through out a person’s disease-managed life time.
Brain tumors and neurodegenerative disease have several things in common: stem cells that play a major role in disease initiation and spread; and a common mechanism for spread, or metastasis, that includes cell-to-cell communication of disease-associated molecules. These are studied in cell culture and animal models of disease experiments. All of the human brain tissue specimens that we obtain are so very valuable toward understanding how someone’s brain disease differs from someone elses with the same disease, and to allow researchers access to well-characterized cell lines generated from these tissues for their own studies of how the disease arises and can be treated.