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Oswald Steward

Founder & Chief Scientific Officer
Professor, Neurobiology and Behavior School of Biological Sciences
Director, Reeve-Irvine Research Center, University of California at Irvine

Oswald Steward is the Director of the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at the University of California at Irvine, and is a Professor in the Departments of Anatomy & Neurobiology and Neurobiology & Behavior, and Neurosurgery. Dr. Steward is also the Senior Associate Dean for Research at UC Irvine. Named for actor Christopher Reeve and Joan Irvine Smith, the Reeve-Irvine Research Center was established to study injuries to and diseases of the spinal cord and develop strategies to promote repair and regeneration of nerve cells.

Prior to July, 1999, Steward held the position of Harrison Foundation Professor of Neuroscience and Neurosurgery at the University of Virginia, and was the Founding Chair of the Department of Neuroscience in the University of Virginia School of Medicine, holding that position from 1986-1999.

Dr. Steward’s research focuses on how nerve cells create and maintain their connections with each other, how these “synapses” are modified by experience and after injury, and what genes play a role in nerve cell regeneration, growth and function. A more recent emphasis has been on promoting nerve regeneration in the injured spinal cord, and especially the regeneration of the pathway that controls the ability to move voluntarily (the cortico-spinal tract).

Dr. Steward was appointed by Governor Schwarzennegar to the 29 member Independent Citizen’s Oversight Committee (ICOC) as the representative for spinal cord injury. The ICOC oversees the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine established through Proposition 71 and oversees all expenditures through Proposition 71.

Dr. Steward holds federal and private research grants totaling over $1 million annually, and directs a team of over 60 scientists and research physicians in the Reeve-Irvine Research Center. He is the author of two textbooks (“Principles of Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Neuroscience”, Springer-Verlag, 1989, and “Functional Neuroscience”, Springer Verlag, 2000). He has authored over 280 research articles and invited reviews.

Honors and awards include:

  • NIH Research Career Development Award, 1978-1983.
  • Jacob Javitts Neuroscience Investigator Award, 1987-1994.
  • Co-Recipient (with E.W. Rubel) OASI Institute International Award for Brain Dysfunction Research, 1991.
  • Endowed Chair: Harrison Foundation Professor of Neuroscience, Univ. of Virginia 1990-1999.
  • Endowed Chair: Reeve-Irvine Professor of Anatomy & Neurobiology, Neurobiology & Behavior, and Neurosurgery, Univ. of California at Irvine, 1999-present.
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