A husband, father, scientist, and Orange County business leader, Dr. Hans Keirstead is one of the world’s leading innovators in stem cell research and medical treatments. Hans has led therapy breakthroughs for late-stage cancers, multiple sclerosis, ALS, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injury, and retinal diseases.
Hans served for 15 years as Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology and Professor of Neurological Surgery at the UC Irvine School of Medicine. At UCI, Hans founded the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center and led a team to develop groundbreaking treatments that included re-thinking how stem cells are developed and used as treatment for spinal cord trauma, which allowed people to regain movement to limbs that were previously paralyzed. As a Professor, he gained extensive experience working with national institutions like the FDA and the National Institute of Health, and he provided expert legislative testimony on medical innovation.
Raised in Canada and inspired by his parents to help others, Hans went to college to become a physician but soon shifted to medical research. His aim was to develop new and more effective treatments that give physicians better tools to save and improve lives. After receiving an award for the best PhD in the country, and training in Cambridge University in England, Hans moved to Orange County to accept a position at the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at UCI. He has been pioneering advancements in medical treatments now for 20 years.
Hans has launched multiple successful medical research companies in Orange County and is currently CEO at AIVITA Biomedical, where he is focusing on developing a cancer treatment that is proving to be the most effective treatment for cancer that has ever reached the final phase of clinical trials.
And when then-President George W. Bush issued an executive order banning federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, Hans stepped up to help fill the void, advising members of Congress and U.S. Senators regarding national policy and serving as a lead scientific advisor for the California Stem Cell Initiative. He toured the state to promote the ballot measure, which passed with nearly 60% of the vote and established a $3 billion stem cell research fund to support medical innovation in California.
It was at UCI where Hans met his wife, Niki, a leading neuroscientist focused on Alzheimer’s disease. Married for 11 years, Hans and Niki are raising their son, Connor, in Laguna Beach.