Henry John Klassen

Picture of Henry John Klassen
Professor and Director, Stem Cell & Retinal Regeneration Program, Ophthalmology
School of Medicine
M.D., University of Pittsburgh, 1991, Medicine
Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 1989, Neurobiology
Phone: (949) 824-0710
Fax: (949) 824-9626
Email: hklassen@uci.edu
University of California, Irvine
Sue and Bill Gross Hall - A CIRM Institute
Stem Cell Research Center, 2nd floor, Room 2035
845 Health Sciences Road
Mail Code: 1705
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
stem cell, retinal regeneration
Academic Distinctions
B.A. degree with Distinction in General Scholarship, 1979
Pittsburgh Neuroscience Society Annual Award for Excellence in Basic Science Research, 1987
Citation for Excellence in Research, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 1989
Outstanding Presentation of the 1989 Eastern Student Research Forum
Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Medical Student Research, AMA, 1989
Yale Alumni in Ophthalmology Resident Research Prize, 1994
Career Development Award, Foundation Fighting Blindness, 1997
Ph.D., Neurobiology, Anatomy and Cell Science, University of Pittsburgh, 1989
Short Biography
Henry Klassen, MD, PhD, is Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California, Irvine. He has a longstanding interest in neural plasticity and regeneration that dates to his undergraduate days at UC Berkeley and continued during MD/PhD studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Klassen’s clinical training included internship at the Cambridge Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and residency in ophthalmology at Yale Eye Center, followed by a combined fellowship in medical retina and retinal research at Moorfields Eye Hospital and the Institute of Ophthalmology in London. His research has shown that transplanted retinal progenitor cells improve the function of photoreceptors of the degenerating retina of RCS rats. He continues to pursue the goal of translating these findings into a cell-based therapy for patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and other blinding diseases. This effort has included co-founding a startup company (jCyte) and completion of phase 1/2a and phase 2b clinical trials in RP.
1. Bridgeman, B. and Klassen, H. (1983) On the origin of stroboscopic induced motion. Percep. Psychophys. 34:149-154.

2. Klassen, H. and Lund, R. (1987) Retinal transplants can drive a pupillary reflex in host rat brains. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 84: 6958-6960.

3. Klassen, H. and Lund, R. (1988) Anatomical and behavioral correlates of a
xenograft-mediated pupillary reflex. Exp. Neurol. 102:102-108.

4. Klassen, H. and Lund, R. (1990) Retinal graft-mediated pupillary responses in rats: restoration of a reflex function in the mature mammalian brain.
J. Neurosci. 10:578-587.

5. Klassen, H. and Lund, R. (1990) Parameters of retinal graft-mediated responses are related to underlying target innervation. Brain Res. 533:181-191.

6. Huncharek, M., Klassen, H. and Klassen, M. (1994) Splenic artery aneurysm
and upper gastrointestinal bleeding in a nulliparous woman--a case history.
Angiology 45:733-735.

7. Filatov, V., Tom, D., Alexandrakis, G., Skolik, S., Klassen, H. and Liggett, P. (1995) Branch retinal artery occlusion associated with directional coronary atherectomy after percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty. Am. J. Ophthalmol. 120:391-393.

8. Klassen, H., Klassen, M. and Huncharek, M. (1995) Group B streptococcal meningitis presenting as stroke in a nondebilitated man. Yale J. of Biol. and Med. 68:1-6.

9. Sauvé, Y., Klassen, H., Whiteley, S., and Lund, R. (1998) Visual field loss in RCS rats and the effect of RPE cell transplantation. Exp. Neurol. 152(2):243-250.

10. Schnell, L., Fearn, S., Klassen, H., Schwab, M., Perry, V.H. (1999) Acute inflammatory responses to mechanical lesions in the CNS: differences between brain and spinal cord. Eur. J. Neurosci. 11:3648-3658.

11. Sauvé, Y., Klassen, H., Whiteley, S., and Lund, R. (1999) Age-dependent visual field loss in RCS rats and the relative benefits of subretinal over intravitreal RPE transplantation. Dig. J. Ophthalmol. 5(1).

12. Young, M., Ray, J., Whiteley, S., Klassen, H., Gage, F. (2000) Neuronal differentiation and morphological integration of hippocampal progenitor cells transplanted to the retina of immature and mature dystropic rats. Mol. Cell. Neurosci. 16 (3):1997-2005.

13. Shatos, M., Mizumoto, K., Mizumoto, H., Kurimoto, Y., Klassen, H., Young, M. (2001) Multipotent stem cells from the brain and retina of green mice. e-biomed: The Journal of Regenerative Medicine 2:13-15.

14. Mizumoto, H., Mizumoto, K., Whiteley, S., Shatos, S., Klassen, H., Young, M. (2001) Transplantation of human neural progenitor cells to the vitreous cavity of the Royal College of the Surgeons rat. Cell Transplant. 10:223-233.

15. Klassen, H., Whiteley, S., Young, M., Lund, R. (2001) Graft location affects functional rescue following RPE cell transplantation in the RCS rat. Exp. Neurol. 169:114-121.

16. Klassen, H., Schwartz, M., Bailey, A., Young, M. (2001) Surface markers expressed by multipotent human and mouse neural progenitor cells include tetraspanins and non-protein epitopes. Neurosci. Lett. 312:180-182.

17. Whiteley, S., Klassen, H., Coffey, P., Young, M. (2001) Photoreceptor rescue after low dose intravitreal interleukin-1? injection in the RCS rat. Exp. Eye Res. 73:557-568.

18. Huncharek, M., Klassen, H., Kupelnick, B. (2001) Dietary beta-carotene intake and the risk of epithelial ovarian cancer: a meta-analysis of 3,782 subjects from five observational studies. In Vivo 15:339-343.

19. Huncharek, M., Kupelnick, B., Klassen, H. (2001) Paternal smoking during pregnancy and the risk of childhood brain tumors: Results of a meta-analysis. In Vivo 15:535-542.

20. Huncharek, M., Kupelnick, B., Klassen, H. (2002) Maternal smoking during pregnancy and the risk of childhood brain tumors: A meta-analysis of 6,566 subjects from twelve epidemiological studies. J. Neurooncol. 57(1):51-57.

21. Klassen, H., Imfeld, K., Ray, J., Young, Gage, F., M., Berman, M. (2003) The immunological properties of adult hippocampal progenitor cells. Vision Res. 43(8):947-956.

22. Mizumoto, H., Mizumoto, K., Shatos, M., Klassen, H., Young, M. (2003) Retinal transplantation of neural progenitor cells derived from the brain of GFP transgenic mice. Vision Res. 43(16):1699-1708.

23. Hori, J., Ng, T.-F., Shatos, M., Klassen, H., Streilein, J. W., Young, M. (2003) Neural stem cells lack immunogenicity and resist destruction as allografts. Stem Cells. 21(4):405-416.

24. Klassen, H., Imfeld, K., Kirov, I., Gage, F., Young, M., Berman, M. (2003) Expression of cytokines by multipotent neural progenitor cells. Cytokine. 22(3-4):101-106.

25. Schwartz, P., Bryant, P., Fuja, T., Su, H., O'Dowd, D., Klassen, H. (2003) Isolation and characterization of neural progenitor cells from post-mortem human cortex. J. Neurosci. Res. 74:838-851.

26. Klassen, H., Ziaeian, B., Kirov, I., Young, M., Schwartz, P. (2004) Isolation of retinal progenitor cells from postmortem human tissue with comparison to autologous brain progenitors. J. Neurosci. Res. 77(3):334-343.

27. Klassen, H., Shatos, M., Ng, T.-F., Kurimoto, Y., Kirov, I., Coffey, P., Young, M. (2004) Multipotent progenitor cells from the retina express developmental markers, differentiate into neurons, and preserve visually mediated behavior. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 45:4167-4173.

28. Lavik, E., Klassen, H., Warfvinge, K., Langer, R., Young, M. (2005) Fabrication of degradable polymer scaffolds to direct the integration and differentiation of retinal progenitors. Biomaterials 26:3187-3196.

29. Zahir, T., Klassen, H., Young, M. (2005) Effects of ciliary neurotrophic factor on differentiation of late retinal progenitor cells. Stem Cells 23: 424-432.

30. Warfvinge, K., Kiilgaard, J., Lavik, E., Scherfig, E., Langer, R., Klassen, H., Young, M. (2005) Retinal progenitor cell xenografts to the pig retina: morphological integration and cytochemical differentiation. Arch. Ophthalmol. 123:1385-1393.

31. Schwartz, P, Nethercott, H., Kirov, I., Ziaeian, B., Young, M., Klassen, H. (2005) Expression of neurodevelopmental markers by cultured porcine neural precursor cells. Stem Cells 23:1286-1294.

32. Tomita, M., Lavik, E., Klassen, H., Zahir, T., Langer, R., and Young, M. (2005) Biodegradable polymer composite grafts promote the survival and differentiation of retinal progenitor cells. Stem Cells 23:1579-1588.

33. Warfvinge, K., Kiilgaard, J., Klassen, H., Zamiri, P., Scherfig, E., Streilein, J.W., Prause, J., Young, M. (2006) Retinal progenitor cell xenografts to the pig retina: immunological reactions. Cell Transplant. 15(7):603-612.

34. Yang, J., Klassen, H., Pries, M., Wang, W., Nissen, M. (2006) Aqueous humor enhances the proliferation of rat retinal precursor cells in culture and this effect is partially reproduced by ascorbic acid. Stem Cells 24:2766-2775.

35. Zahir, T., Tomita, M., Klassen, H., Young, M. (2006) Sorbitol promotes differentiation of late retinal progenitor cells into Müller glia in vitro. Molec. Vis. 12:1606-1614.

36. Klassen, H. (2007) Recruitment of endogenous neural progenitor cells by malignant neoplasms of the central nervous system. Curr. Stem Cell Res. & Ther. 2:113-119.

37. Zhang, Y., Klassen, H., Tucker, B., Perez, M-T, Young, M. (2007) CNS progenitor cells promote a permissive environment for neurite outgrowth via an MMP-dependent mechanism. J. Neurosci. 27:4499-4506.

38. Klassen, H., Kiilgaard, J., Zahir, T., Ziaeian, B., Kirov, I., Scherfig, E., Warfvinge, K., Young, M. (2007) Progenitor cells from the porcine neural retina express photoreceptor markers after transplantation to the subretinal space of allorecipients. Stem Cells 25:1222-1230.

39. Tao, S., Young, C., Redenti, S., Zhang, Y., Klassen, H., Desai, T., Young, M. (2007) Survival, migration and differentiation of retinal progenitor cells transplanted on micro-machined poly(methyl methacrylate) scaffolds to the subretinal space. Lab Chip 7:695-701.

40. Klassen, H., Schwartz, P., Nethercott, H., Ziaeian, B., Young, M., Narfstrom, K. (2007) Neural precursors isolated from the developing cat brain show retinal integration following transplantation to the retina of the dystrophic cat. Vet. Ophthalmol. 10: 245-253.

41. Jiang, C., Moore, M., Zhang, X., Klassen, H., Langer, R., Young, M. (2007) Intravitreal injections of GDNF-loaded biodegradable microspheres are neuroprotective in a rat model of glaucoma. Molec. Vis. 13:1783-1792.

42. Neeley, W., Redenti, S., Klassen, H., Young, M., Langer, R. (2008) A microfabricated poly(glycerol-sebacate) scaffold for retinal progenitor cell grafting. Biomaterials 29: 418-426.

43. Tucker, B., Klassen, H., Yang, L., Chen, DF, Young, M. (2008) Elevated MMP expression in the MRL mouse retina creates a permissive environment for retinal regeneration. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 49:1686-1695.

44. Redenti, S., Tao, S., Yang , J., Gu, P., Klassen, H., Saigal, S., Desai, T., Young, M. (2008) Retinal tissue engineering using mouse retinal progenitor cells and a novel biodegradable, thin-film poly(e-caprolactone) nanowire scaffold. J. Oc. Biol. Dis. Informat.
1: 19-29.

45. Klassen, H., Warfvinge, K., Schwartz, P, Kiilgaard, J., Shamie. N., Jiang, C., Samuel, M., Scherfig, E., Prather, R., Young, M. (2008) Isolation of multiple progenitor cell types from GFP-transgenic pigs and transplantation to the retina of allorecipients. Cloning Stem Cells 10:391-402.

46. Yang, J., Klassen, H., Pries, M., Wang, W., Nissen, M. (2009) Vitreous humor enhances the proliferation of rat retinal precursor cells. J. Neurosci. Res. 87:495-502.

47. Redenti, S., Neeley, W., Rampani, S., Saigal, S., Yang, J., Klassen, H., Cepko, C., Langer, R., Young, M. (2009) Engineering retinal progenitor cell and scrollable poly(glycerol-sebacate) composites for in vitro expansion and subretinal transplantation. Biomaterials 30:3405-3414.

48. Voss Kyhn, M., Warfvinge, K., Scherfig, E., Kiilgaard, J., Prause, J., Klassen, H., Young, M., la Cour, M. (2009) Acute retinal ischemia caused by controlled low ocular perfusion pressure in a porcine model. Electrophysiological and histological characterisation. Exp. Eye Res. 88:1100-1106.

49. Aftab, U., Jiang, C., Tucker, B., Kim, J.-Y., Klassen, H., Miljan, E., Sinden, J., Young, M. (2009) Isolation, expansion, characterization and transplantation of human retinal progenitor cells. Exp. Eye Res. 89:301-310.

50. Schmitt, S., Aftab, U., Jiang, C., Redenti, S., Klassen, H., Miljan, E., Sinden, J., Young, M. (2009) Molecular characterization of human retinal progenitor cells. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. In press.

51. Gu, P., Yang, J., Young, M., Klassen, H. (2009) Sequential changes in the gene expression profile of murine retinal progenitor cells during the induction of differentiation. Molec. Vis. In press.

52. Kyhn, M.V., Klassen, H., Johansson, U., Warfvinge, K., Lavik, E., Kiilgaard, J., Prause, J., Scherfig, E., Young, M., la Cour, M. (2009) Delayed administration of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) protects retinal ganglion cells in a pig model of acute retinal ischemia. Exp. Eye Res. In press.

53. Tucker, B., Redenti, S., Jiang, C., Swift, J., Klassen. H., Smith, M., Wnek, G., Young, M. (2009) The use of progenitor cell/biodegradable MMP2-PLGA polymer constructs to enhance cellular integration and retinal repopulation. Biomaterials In press.
Professional Societies
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
International Society for Eye Research
International Society for Stem Cell Research
Sigma Xi
Research Centers
University of California, Irvine
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