Lane leads efforts to end the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis
November 26, 2012
Thomas Lane looks anything but the typical scientist as he strides through his lab at UC Irvine’s Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center sporting shorts, a T-shirt and loafers. Walking past research assistants hunkered over microscopes and test tubes, he pauses to show off his prized possessions: 1970s posters of the Cincinnati Reds that once adorned his bedroom in his hometown of Muncie, Ind.
That’s the thing about Lane: He’s just as comfortable talking sports as he is discussing stem cells. He loves baseball, swam competitively in high school and college, and is an avid surfer. In short, he’s a regular guy—who has made extraordinary gains in UC Irvine’s battle against a devastating disorder with no known cure.
His low-key demeanor belies the fact that Lane belongs to a select group of researchers who’ve made significant advances toward understanding and treating multiple sclerosis, a chronic disease of the central nervous system that can cause blurred vision, slurred speech, numbness, acute fatigue and, in its most extreme form, blindness and paralysis.
A Chancellor’s Fellow and professor of molecular biology & biochemistry, Lane has dedicated his career to studying MS. He directs the UC Irvine Health School of Medicine’s new Multiple Sclerosis Research Center, built in part with a five-year award he received in 2009 from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to develop new techniques for repairing and regenerating MS-ravaged nerve tissue.
“I want to bring research from the bench to the clinic in order to help people with MS,” Lane says. “We have researchers at UC Irvine with different approaches to the disease, and the center gives us a wonderful platform to discuss new avenues of treatment.”
Lane leads efforts to end the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis ›