Basic Sciences

Ronald McKay

Senior Scientist

Ron McKay, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist

Ron McKay, Ph.D is a Senior Scientist. Before joining the Lieber Institute, Dr. McKay was Chief of the Laboratory of Cellular Neurobiology of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Dr. McKay received a B.Sc. in 1971 and a Ph.D. in 1974 from the University of Edinburgh. His postdoctoral training was at the University of Oxford. In Edinburgh and Oxford, he contributed to the earliest work showing that the tools of molecular biology would make a major contribution to human genetics. In 1978, he moved to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. At Cold Spring Harbor, he was the first to show that specific DNA-protein complexes could be analyzed with antibodies, and pioneered the field of molecular neuroscience. Joining the MIT faculty in 1984, Dr. McKay identified neural stem cells as a tool to study brain development and function. In 1993, he joined the NIH as Chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at NINDS. His laboratory at the Lieber Institute studies pluripotent and somatic stem cells with a particular interest in the development of the nervous system. His research is focused on using the biology of stem cells to understand the genetic basis of human disease and to regenerate injured tissue. He is a founding board member of the International Society of Stem Cell Research.  He has served on Scientific Advisory Boards of commercial and academic programs across the world. He is the recipient of the Ernst Schering Prize and the Robert Menzies, and Max Delbrück Medals.


Selected Publications

Lendahl U, Zimmerman L, McKay RDG.  CNS Stem Cells Express a New Class of Intermediate Filament Protein. Cell 1990; vol. 60, 585-595.

Cattaneo E, McKay RDG. Nerve Growth Factor Regulates Proliferation and Differentiation of Neuronal Stem Cells. Nature 1990; vol. 347, 762-765.

Lumelsky N, Blondel O, Laeng P, Velasco I, Ravin R, McKay RDG. Differentiation  of Embryonic Stem Cells to Insulin-Secreting Structures Similar to Pancreatic Islets. Science 2001; vol. 292, 1389-94.

Kim JH, Auerbach JM, Rodriguez-Gomez JA, Velasco I, Gavin D, Lumelsky N, Lee S-H, Nguyen J, Sanchez-Pernautes R, Bankiewicz K, McKay RDG.  Dopaminergic Midbrain Neurons Derived from Embryonic Stem Cells Function in an Animal Model of Parkinson's Disease. Nature 2002; vol. 418, 50-56.

Androutsellis-Theotokis A, Leker RR, Soldner F, Hoeppner DJ, Ravin R, Poser SW, Rueger MA, Bae S-K, Kittappa T, McKay RDG. Notch Signalling Regulates Stem Cell Numbers In Vitro and In Vivo. Nature 2006; vol. 442, 823-826.

Tesar PJ, Chenoweth JG, Brook FA, Davies TJ, Evans EP, Mack D, Gardner RL, McKay RDG. Novel Stem Cell Lines from Mouse Embryos Share Defining Features with Human Embryonic Stem Cells. Nature 2007; vol. 448, 196-199.

Kittappa R, Chang W, Awatramani RB, McKay RDG. The foxa2 Gene Controls the Birth and Spontaneous Degeneration of Dopamine Neurons in Old Age. PLoS Biol. 2007; vol. 5(12) e325.

Ravin R, Hoeppner DJ, Munno M, Carmel L, Sullivan J, Levitt DL, Miller JL, Athaide C, Panchision DM, McKay RDG. Potency and Fate Specification  in  CNS  Stem Cell Populations In Vitro.  Cell Stem Cell 2008vol. 3, 670-80.

Androutsellis-Theotokis A. et al., Targeting Neural Precursors in the Adult Brain Rescues Injured Dopamine Neurons. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009; vol. 106, 13570-75.

Murase S, Owens D F, McKay RDG. In the Newborn Hippocampus, Neurotrophin-Dependent Survival Requires Spontaneous Activity and Integrin Signaling. The Journal of Neuroscience 2011; 31(21), 7791–7800.