Dr. Farhad Parhami worked at UCLA as a biomedical researcher and Professor of Medicine for over 22 years. While at UCLA, Farhad first studied the effects of certain sterols, including cholesterol and oxidation products of cholesterol, so called oxysterols, on the cellular signaling of adult stem cells. Remnants from our prenatal period, adult stem cells can be found in all human tissues and are crucial elements for our body’s normal maintenance as well as repair and recovery from injury or disease. For example, skin injuries, such as cuts or bruises, are repaired with help from skin progenitor cells, so called fibroblasts, which become activated during wound healing. Similarly, broken bones heal by drawing in bone progenitor cells that reside in the bone marrow and turn into mature bone cells, so called osteoblasts, near the site of bone injury. Farhad’s research demonstrated that adult stem cells can be activated by oxysterols without affecting other cells that are not stem cells. That is because oxysterols work by stimulating stem cell specific signals, such as Hedgehog signaling, in a safe manner that does not lead to overstimulation, which can be potentially dangerous. This so called “allosteric” activation amplifies only preexisting Hedgehog signals found in the adult stems cells.