Dr. Schaffer is Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Bioengineering, and Neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley, where he also serves as the Director of the Berkeley Stem Cell Center. He holds 15 years experience in therapeutic viruses & gene therapeutics. He invented the “directed evolution” discovery platform for the discovery of novel AAV gene therapy vectors. This technology led to “Therapeutic Vector Evolution”, the proprietary vector discovery platform being developed at 4D Molecular Therapeutics (4DMT), which he co-founded with Dr. David Kirn. He currently serves as acting CSO & Co-Chairman at 4DMT.
At UC Berkeley, Dr. Schaffer applies engineering principles to enhance stem cell and gene therapy approaches for neuroregeneration, work that includes novel approaches for molecular engineering and evolution of new viral vectors as well as new technologies to investigate and control stem cell fate decisions.
Dr. Schaffer has received an NSF CAREER Award, Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, Whitaker Foundation Young Investigator Award, and was named a Technology Review Top 100 Innovator. He was also awarded the Biomedical Engineering Society Rita Shaffer Young Investigator Award in 2000, the American Chemical Society BIOT Division Young Investigator Award, and was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering in 2010.
Dr. Schaffer has over 120 scientific publications, serves on 5 journal editorial boards and 5 industrial scientific advisory boards, and is Treasurer and a Board of Directors member of the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy (the premiere gene therapy society).
Dr. Schaffer graduated from Stanford University with a degree in chemical engineering, and from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a PhD in Chemical Engineering. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Fred “Rusty” Gage at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA.