Hirsch among Outstanding New Investigators at ASGCT 2022 Annual Meeting

At the 25th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy in May 2022, UNC Associate Professor of Ophthalmology Matt Hirsch, PhD, was among four established gene therapy researchers across the United States. United to be honored as recipients of the 2022 ASGCT Outstanding New Investigator Award. .


At the 25th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy in May 2022, Associate Professor Matt Hirsch, PhD, of UNC’s Department of Ophthalmology, was among four established gene therapy researchers in the United States. United to be honored as recipients of ASGCT’s 2022 Outstanding New Researcher’s Award.

Hirsch is a leading genetic engineer at UNC-Chapel Hill with a strong investigative record in the use Adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors to treat rare degenerative inherited diseases via therapeutic gene delivery and gene editing.

At UNC’s Gene Therapy Center (GTC), Hirsch has long been a principal investigator of collaborative, interdisciplinary research Translational studies of AAV vectors to treat a range of ocular genetic disorders, such as inherited lysosomal storage diseases leading to corneal blindness and retinal diseases. His research contributions have helped transform the Carolina Eye Research Institute (CERI) into a world-renowned cell and gene therapy center that houses large-scale, interdisciplinary clinical trials to promote ophthalmic science innovation in restoration and prevention. of loss of sight. At the GTC, the Hirsch lab also developed targeted gene therapy for the treatment of muscular dystrophies and evaluated the delivery contexts of large AAV genes in disease models of dysferlinopathy and hemophilia A.

Hirsch has co-founded three UNC GTC-affiliated start-ups, including RainBioa biotechnology company focused on restoring vision in patients with corneal blindness by replacing Mucopolysaccharidosis type 1 (MPS1) via vector gene therapy (AAV). More obtained seven US patents, LEDs 24 federally and industry funded surveys, published 10 textbooks and chapters, author 45 referenced articles, and mentored eight doctoral students.

Within the gene delivery and cell therapy research community, Hirsch and his lab colleagues are known for their research on the integration of new and existing approaches to exploit the DNA repair pathways of host for intracellular reconstruction of large transgenes. Their work enables others to pursue the identification of host DNA repair proteins and pathways necessary for episomal genetic engineering at the basic science level, with a view to advancing the generation of safer and more more effective in experiments and laboratory tests.

The annual recipients of the ASGCT’s Outstanding New Investigator (ONI) award are leaders from academia, research foundations, government and industry. At the ASGCT Annual Meeting in May 2022, each awardee’s contributions to the field of gene and cell therapy were recognized, and each awardee presented a plenary lecture highlighting their scientific achievements that led to their award.

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