Research & Trials

Martin Grumet, Ph.D.
Director, Stem Cell Research Center
Associate Director, W. M. Keck Center
Neural stem cells in development and neurological disorders | Encapsulated Mesenchymal stem cells to treat inflammatory disorders and diseases

Dr. Martin Grumet is a professor at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and is acknowledged to be one of the leading researchers in brain development and spinal cord injury repair. Dr. Grumet obtained a BS degree in Physics from the Cooper Union and a doctorate in Biophysics from The Johns Hopkins University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Rockefeller University with Nobel Laureate Dr. Gerald M. Edelman where he was appointed Assistant Professor in 1984.

In 1990, Dr. Grumet moved to New York University Medical School as Associate Professor of Pharmacology. In 1999, he was appointed Professor of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at Rutgers University and joined the W. M. Keck Center as its Associate Director. In 2002, he became Director of the W. M. Keck Center of Collaborative Neuroscience. Dr. Grumet has purified and cloned several adhesion proteins. In studies of cell surface receptors that mediate cell interactions in the nervous system, he isolated the first heterophilic cell adhesion molecule (CAM) that mediates interactions between neurons and glia, first called Ng-CAM, now known as L1. He discovered a related CAM in the L1 family called Nr-CAM and elucidated their interaction with proteoglycans, which inhibit adhesion and cell signalling. These CAMs play critical roles in nerve development and brain function and have been implicated in human diseases such as X-linked hydrocephalus and addiction. Dr. Grumet’s work has also applied expertise in cell adhesion to problems in brain tumor biology multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury research.

Dr. Grumet’s lab isolated the first cell line with radial-like properties and has demonstrated the feasibility of implanting such cells into the central nervous system to improve recovery following injury. These results provided the catalyst for his recruitment to the W. M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience to study the ability of neural stem cells on repairing the injured spinal cord. Most recently, his lab has been developing mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) for therapeutic applications. MSC are currently being investigated in many clinical trials around the world for a wide range of acute and chronic applications from spinal cord injury to inflammatory bowel disease.  His lab has developed methods that solve current problems in using MSC including their poor survival, and their unknown fate and activity after injection into the body. After encapsulating MSC into microspheres, they have been 1) injected into the spinal cord and tracked over time by MRI imaging, and 2) retrieved from the body to determine their survival after treatment. The capsules serve as a barrier, which protects the encapsulated MSC from rejection by the host while allowing molecules to be secreted into the host to improve recovery from spinal cord injury. The therapeutic potential of these immunomodulatory treatments is currently being investigated for other disorders such as sepsis.

Dr. Grumet has served on advisory committees for grant reviews at the NIH and NSF, and has served on the editorial boards of Perspectives in Developmental Neurobiology, and Cell & Tissue Research. He has lectured widely to lay and scientific audiences in the US, Canada, England, France, Germany, Israel, China, and Japan.

Recently, Dr. Grumet is working on MSC Encapsulation.