Dr. Ratajczak is the Henry M. and Stella M. Hoenig Endowed Chair in Cancer Biology and the director of the Developmental Biology Research Program at the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center. He earned his M.D. degree at the Pomeranian Medical University and his Ph.D. and D.Sci. degrees at the Center for Clinical and Experimental Medicine both located in Warsaw, Poland, and completed fellowships at the Polish Academy of Sciences and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He is an internationally known specialist in the field of adult stem cell biology. His 2005 discovery of embryonic-like stem cells in adult bone marrow tissues has the potential to revolutionize the field of regenerative medicine and may lead to new treatments for cancer, heart disease, eye disease, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders.
Among Dr. Ratajczak’s prestigious awards are the 2008 President’s Award for Outstanding Scholarship, Research, and Creativity from the University of Louisville, Kentucky; the 2008 Cancer Researcher of the Year award; the 2006 Award in Medicine and Biology from the Foundation for Polish Sciences (the highest scientific award in Poland); the 2004 Individual Award from the Polish Ministry of Health for Scientific Achievements; and the 2002 Chad Kopple Spirit Award from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He is editor-in-chief of the Central European Journal of Biology and section editor for the journal Leukemia. He is also a member of the editorial boards of other distinguished publications including the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Stem Cells and the Journal of Applied Genetics. He has published numerous books and more than 400 peer-reviewed publications and is a frequent speaker at conferences worldwide. He has been elected as a foreign member of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences and is also a member of the International Society of Experimental Hematology, American Association for Cancer Research, and the American Society of Hematology. Most recently, he was honored with the degree, doctoris honoris causa, from the Medical University of Silesia. His work is supported by National Institutes of Health grants.