News & Information

STEM lecture examines use of viruses to combat diseases


The potential for viral engineering to be used as a means of curing sickle cell anemia and immune deficiency diseases is the topic of the next STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) lecture, “Going Viral: Using Viruses and Bone Marrow Stem Cells in the Fight Against Diseases.”

Dr. Donald Kohn, a medical doctor and professor at UCLA, will deliver the lecture scheduled for Tuesday, April 19. He will discuss his research engineering viruses to deliver genes to stem cells for retransplantation back into patients, as well as his clinical trials to cure sickle cell anemia and immune deficiency diseases.

The lecture is the fifth of six scheduled for presentation this academic year by the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the Center for STEM Excellence. It is funded through a California Institute for Regenerative Medicine grant, a collaboration with the UC Davis Stem Cell program.

Kohn received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1976 and a Master of Science degree in Microbiology in 1978 from the University of Illinois. He earned his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1982. He completed his residency in 1985 and received a fellowship to perform research at the National Institutes of Health within the Metabolism Branch of the National Cancer Institute for two years.

In 1988, Kohn joined the faculty at the University of Southern California School of Medicine and served as president of the American Society of Gene Therapy in 2003. In 2009, he assumed his current position in UCLA’s Department of Microbiology, Immunology, Molecular Genetics and Pediatrics. He also directs the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine Human Gene Medicine Program and has been a physician for the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles specializing in Bone Marrow Transplantation since 1987.

For more on the lecture, visit For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Public Affairs Office at (916) 278-6156.