Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Ph.D.

The Rockefeller University
New York City

Marc Tessier-Lavigne is President of The Rockefeller University, where he is also Carson Family Professor and head of the Laboratory of Brain Development and Repair. Dr. Tessier-Lavigne is a world leader in the study of brain development and degeneration. He and his colleagues identified mechanisms that direct the wiring of the brain during embryonic development, work with implications for brain repair after injury and for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. The recipient of numerous honors and awards, Dr. Tessier-Lavigne is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and its Institute of Medicine. 

Dr. Tessier-Lavigne received undergraduate degrees from McGill and Oxford universities, and a Ph.D. from University College London (UCL). After postdoctoral work at UCL and Columbia University, he held faculty positions at the University of California, San Francisco, and at Stanford University, where he was the Susan B. Ford Professor in the Humanities and Sciences and an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In 2003, he joined Genentech Inc., a leading biotechnology company, where he became Executive Vice President, Research, and Chief Scientific Officer, directing 1,400 scientists in disease research and drug discovery for cancer, immune disorders, infectious diseases and neurodegenerative disease. He joined The Rockefeller University in 2011. 



Funded Research

Project Description Researchers Funding
Patient-derived Reprogrammed Neurons as a Model to Study Neurodegenerative Diseases in a Dish

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting over 5 million people in the United States alone; it is the sixth-leading cause of death and is expected to cost the nation over $200 billion in 2013, with costs projected to exceed $1 trillion by 2050. Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, nor are there effective treatments that delay or improve symptoms.

Stem Cell Consortium

Stem cells are the least mature cells in the body. Because these cells are so immature, they can be treated with a defined cocktail of factors and, depending on which factors are used and in what sequence, those factors can cause maturation of cells along discrete cell types. With a new tool called induced pluripotent stem cells, it now is possible to take skin cells from adults and return them to this immature state. By redirecting skin cells from Alzheimer’s patients and turning them into nerve cells, we are able to study adult Alzheimer’s neurons (nerve cells) in the lab.

iPS-derived and trans-differentiated human neurons as models to study Alzheimer’s disease

Recent groundbreaking work in stem cell biology has made it possible to reprogram non-neuronal cells obtained from Alzheimer’s diseased patients into neurons. For the first time, the research community has the means to study diseased human neurons from Alzheimer’s patients. These models have already yielded novel insights into the disease.


Selected Publications

These published papers resulted from Cure Alzheimer’s Fund support.
Dylan Kwart, Dominik Paquet, Shaun Teo and Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Precise and efficient scarless genome editing in stem cells using CORRECT, Nature Protocols, 12, 19 Jan 2017, 329–354
Dominik Paquet, Dylan Kwart, Antonia Chen, Andrew Sproul, Samson Jacob, Shaun Teo, Kimberly Moore Olsen, Andrew Gregg, Scott Noggle and Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Efficient introduction of specific homozygous and heterozygous mutations using CRISPR/Cas9, Nature, 533(7601), May 2016, 125-9