Steven Stice

Professor, GRA Eminent Scholar
Director and Co-Founder of the RBC
  • B.S., University of Illinois
  • M.S., Iowa State University
  • Ph.D., University of Massachusetts

Stice Bio

Dr. Steve Stice is a University of Georgia, DW Brooks Distinguished Professor and Director of the Regenerative Bioscience Center, who holds a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar endowed chair, and is CSO of Aruna Biomedical Inc. He has over 35 years of research and development experience in biotechnology and is a co-founder of several biotech start-ups, including Aruna Biomedical; the first company to commercialize a stem cell product used to facilitate approval of Pfizer’s in use cognitive-enhancing pharmaceuticals.

Prior to joining UGA, Stice was the co-founder and served as both CSO and CEO of Advanced Cell Technology, the first USA Company to advance to human clinical trials using human pluripotent stem cells. Additionally, he co-founded startups; Prolinia and Cytogenesis which later merged with what is now, ViaCyte.

Outside of his academic professorship and business role at UGA, Stice led a neural research project team for a NSF STC called (EBICS) based at MIT, which received $50M from Sept. 2010 – Aug. 2022, and a ten year funded, Atlanta based, $50M multi-institutional NSF engineering research center focused on cell manufacturing (CMaT), where Stice currently reigns as UGA’s academic lead and co-PI. Furthermore, Stice was appointed Co-director of the Regenerative Engineering and Medicine (REM), a joint research collaboration between UGA, Emory University and Georgia Tech. Since his arrival, REM has facilitated 17 start-ups, $25 million in funding, 5 clinical trials, and 25 licensed technologies. The leveraged funding ROI since FY21 is an impressive 11.72.

As an invited member, he sits on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and has served on the Governing Committee of the first institute funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC); National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL), the eleventh institute in the Manufacturing USA government network.

Stice is a world-renown expert in the field of pluripotent stem cell biology. In 2001, he directed work on derivation of three human pluripotent stem cell lines which were approved for federal funding by the NIH and President Bush. In 1997 his group produced the first genetically modified embryonic stem cell derived pigs and cattle. Notably, the Stice lab was one of only five NIH sponsored sites for training NIH investigators on the propagation, differentiation and use of hESC over a six year period.

Dr. Stice is a co-founding partner and Chief Scientific Officer at Aruna Bio, a privately held clinical stage biotechnology company. The company obtained worldwide exclusive rights from the University of Georgia for an extensive patent portfolio covering the use of neural exosome-based therapeutics originally developed in the Stice lab. The patented novel exosomes (AB126) can cross the blood brain barrier to enhance the body’s self-repair system and treat a range of neurodegenerative disorders with unmet medical needs.  Recently, Aruna Bio obtained FDA clearance for the Investigational New Drug (IND) application, marking the first U.S. clinical trial utilizing exosomes to treat acute ischemic stroke. Scheduled to commence in the first half of 2024, the trial is expected to begin in the middle of summer.

Currently, the Stice lab is developing novel therapies and new technologies for drug screening and neurodegenerative disease, which could change the lives of those suffering with Parkinson’s, Stroke injury, and Alzheimer’s. This research has led to publications in Science and Nature journals, national news coverage (CBS, NBC, ABC and CNN) and the first US patents on cloning animals and cattle stem cells which was featured in the Wall Street Journal.

Stice received NAI Fellow status, the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors. Most recently, The University System of Georgia Board of Regents awarded Stice as the first Regents’ Entrepreneur. The distinction recognizes faculty who have demonstrated success in translating research into a commercial setting.

In the Lab

Human stem cells hold immense promise in repairing damaged tissues across the body and expediting the drug discovery process. Stice and his team are pioneering a dual approach, harnessing the necessary cells to facilitate tissue restoration while leveraging them in Petri dishes to uncover novel compounds for treating diseases like Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and stroke.

Today, in collaboration with scientists at Aruna Biomedical and the RBC, the group is developing a novel stroke treatment. This treatment targets the reduction of brain damage while also enhancing the brain’s innate healing mechanisms. Fully able to cloak itself within the bloodstream, this type of regenerative EV therapy appears to be the most promising in overcoming the limitations of many cell therapies — with the ability for exosomes to carry and deliver multiple doses — as well as the ability to store and administer treatment. Small in size, the tiny tubular shape of an exosome allows EV therapy to cross barriers that cells cannot.

Please visit the Stice Lab for more information.

Research Interest

  • Exosomes, for the treatment of CNS and neurodegenerative disorders
  • Genetic Engineering Technology
  • Development of cell-based assays to support high-throughput chemical and compound screening
  • Combination therapies for Alzheimer’s, ALS and Cardiovascular Disease
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Fracture Healing and Complex Bone Injury
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells
  • Environmental Toxicology


Poster Presentations


  • Alpha Zeta Honorary
  • Nominated for Biotechnology’s Outstanding Young Researcher by Massachusetts Biotechnology
  • Association member (Fienstein Kein Partners) in 1999.
  • Nominated for Grand Presidents Award, Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity (1998).
  • Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar (1999)
  • Membership in the Executive Round Table Leadership Society (1999)
  • Top 40 entrepreneurs under 40 in the state of Georgia (Georgia Trends, 2000)
  • Grand Presidents Award, Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity (2000).
  • Outstanding Service to Young Scholars Research program (2000)
  • Leadership in Agriculture award. College of Agriculture, University of Illinois (2001)
  • AAAS stem cell grant reviewer (2001)
  • Keynote speaker first Georgia Life Science Summit (2001)
  • One of 100 most Influential Georgians (Georgia Trends, 2002)
  • Chairmen of the GRA Applied Genomics Cluster (2002)
  • Emtech Bio Scientific Advisory Board member(2002)
  • Harold W. Gegenheimer Innovation Award (2003)
  • CURO Advisory Board, the University of Georgia undergraduate research program (2001-present)
  • Editorial board of Domestic Animal Endocrinology (2003- 2005)
  • Editorial board of Journal of Animal Reproduction (2002-2006)
  • Hoag Award (2004)
  • AGR Brothers of the Century Award (2004)
  • Editorial board of Stem Cells (2005)
  • Inventor of the Year at the University of Georgia (2005)
  • Editorial Board of Experimental Biology and Medicine (2006)
  • Governor of Georgia appointee to the Cord Blood Stem Cell Commission (2006)
  • Georgia Biomedical Partnership Award for Community Service (2007)
  • Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring Early Career Faculty Award (2007)
  • BIO Guidance on Animal Biotechnology Stewardship (2009)
  • Scientific Advisory Board for NIH Roadmap project on Mapping the Human Epigenome (2009)
  • Most Influential Georgians notable (Georgia Trends, 2010,2011,2012)
  • D.W. Brooks Distinguished Professor Award from the University of Georgia, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (2013)
  • Academic Entrepreneur of the Year (2015)
  • Distinguished American Award UGA chapter National Football Foundation (NFF)(2016)
  • Scientific Advisory Board for FDA (2016- current)
  • Industry Growth Award, Georgia Bio (2017)
  • National Academy of Inventors – Election to the rank of NAI Fellow. NAI inductee notified in 2017 presented in (2018)
  • Deal of the Year, Georgia Bio (2020)
  • First Regents’ Entrepreneur (2023)