Jan A. Nolta, Ph.D.

Jan Nolta

Position Title
Center Director, Professor

UC Davis Gene Therapy Center
UC Davis Stem Cell Program


Dr. Nolta is the Director of the Gene Therapy Center at UC Davis' School of Medicine. Nolta also directs the stem cell program at the Institute for Regenerative Cures. She serves as the Scientific Director of the large UC Davis Good Manufacturing Practice Facility and as PI of the California State Umbilical Cord Blood Collection Program. 

The center has a large number of basic, translational, and clinical scientists collaborating to work toward gene therapy treatments and cures for a spectrum of diseases and injuries. Dr. Nolta is helping UC Davis teams develop numerous clinical trials of gene and cell therapy, with 34 regenerative medicine therapies already in the clinic, and over twenty in the pipeline. A California Institute for Regenerative Medicine “Alpha Clinic” Award was granted to UC Davis to administer FDA-approved stem cell and regenerative medicine therapies.

A scientist with 30 years’ experience with human stem cells, gene therapy, and clinical trial development, Dr. Nolta developed her passion for cellular therapy in the early 90’s by helping to develop and administer the first umbilical cord blood hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy trials for newborns with “bubble baby disease” with her mentor Donald Kohn at the University of Southern California.

Dr. Nolta has published over 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts in the stem cell field, with over 12,000 citations, and has authored 30+ book chapters. She has served on over 250 review panels for the National Institutes of Health and other grant-funding agencies, was editor of the Book "Genetic Engineering of Mesenchymal Stem Cells", and has been Editor-in-Chief for the Journal “Stem Cells” for the past seven years.

Dr. Nolta is a native of Northern California, trained in Los Angeles and Washington University, and has been back at UC Davis in Sacramento now for a decade. A major driving force throughout her career has been to provide service to teams working toward novel cures, and to foster a strong sense of community and teamwork. Team training is her passion and she leads several training initiatives at UC Davis and beyond. The fields of stem cells, immunotherapy, gene therapy and regenerative medicine are poised to change the face of healthcare. The new “living medicine” preparation and delivery will be performed by large teams of experts with different expertise and backgrounds. The UC Davis Stem Cell Program is committed to fostering teamwork, training the diverse science and healthcare work force of the future, and to continuing to improve and deliver these novel cutting edge therapies for patients who currently have few other options.

Teaching and Research Awards

  • International Society of Hematology New Investigator Award, 1996
  • Research Career and Development Award, CHLA Research Institute, 1996
  • James Shannon Directors Award, NIH NIDDK, 1997
  • Huntington's Deisease Society of America Distinguished Leadership Award, 2008
  • Associate Editor, Stem Cells, February 2008 - present
  • California State University, Sacramento Distinguished Service Award, 2009