Saul Villeda, PhD

Dr. Saul Villeda obtained his B.S. degree from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in Physiological Sciences in 2004, where he initially trained as a developmental biologist. He received his Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience from Stanford University in 2011, where he trained as a neural stem cell biologist. During his time at Stanford University he investigated how systemic changes in aging blood contribute to age-related impairments in neural stem cell function and cognitive processes. Dr. Villeda went on to start his independent career at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) as a Sandler Faculty, now an Assistant Professor, in the Department of Anatomy and the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research. Dr. Villeda has made the exciting discovery that the aging process in the brain can be reversed by altering levels of pro-youthful and pro-aging factors in blood. This revolutionary work challenges traditional views that the aged brain lacks the inherent ability necessary to combat the effects of aging, which results in permanent functional impairments. Dr. Villeda's research is best known for the use of innovative heterochronic parabiosis and blood plasma administration approaches to investigate the influence that exposure to young blood has in promoting molecular and cellular changes underlying cognitive rejuvenation. Dr. Villeda's discovery of a blood-based approach to brain rejuvenation has high transformative potential with wide ranging implications for contracting age-related cognitive decline and associated dementia-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.