Mark Kotter is a fellowship trained complex spine neurosurgeon and a Clinician Scientist at the University of Cambridge. He undertook sub-specialist training in complex spinal surgery with Professor Michael Fehlings at the University of Toronto and specialises in spinal cord injury patients. His research focusses on stem cells, cellular reprogramming and regenerative medicine. As a neurosurgeon, Mark seeks to develop novel regenerative medicine approaches; supported by his Clinician Scientist Award from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and in collaboration with Myelopathy.org and MediciNova, one of these approaches is currently tested in RECEDE Myelopathy, the first regenerative medicine trial for degenerative cervical myelopathy, a common and disabling disease affecting the spinal cord. Mark is also known for developing opti-ox, a gene targeting approach that enables faithful execution of genetic information in cells. Applied to cellular reprogramming, opti-ox demonstrated that robust activation of a new cell type program (encoded in transcription factors) is necessary and sufficient to deterministically induce a new cellular identity. These findings challenge the theory that cell reprogramming depends on stochastically determined permissive states and enable the production of any human cell within days at purities approaching 100%.
He is the founder of two start-ups based on this technology, and co-founder and trustee of Myelopathy.org, the first charity dedicated to a common yet often overseen condition causing a ‘slow motion spinal cord injury’.