The Niche

Chief Scientific Officer Leaving California Institute of Regenerative Medicine

Marie Csete will resign her post from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine as of Aug 1st, according to the California Stem Cell Report, Consumer Watchdog and the Silicon Valley Business Journal. The resignation comes just before a huge round of grants aiming to push stem cells toward clinical trials is due to be awarded. No word on where Csete, who moved to San Francisco for the job, will go now.

Former CIRM President Zach Hall and his chief scientific officer Arlene Chiu previously resigned their posts after widely reported conflicts with Bob Klein, the businessman who spearheaded the legislation that gave birth to CIRM. Marie Csete is very widely respected for having both clinical science and basic research expertise. I interviewed her shortly after her arrival at CIRM, and was impressed with her very practical approach to the unglamorous parts of helping move stem cells into human testing (See Prepping stem cells for the clinic)

Just over a week ago, California Stem Cell Report had reported that CIRM had pulled at least one grant for apparent lack of progress. I recall that when I had spoken to Csete last year, she had said that she would ask grantees to set and meet goals. Such monitoring was not something basic scientists were used to, she’d said.

CIRM’s governance and staffing is unusual and many would say a hindrance. (See CIRM’s search for a president goes on which describes the time between Zach Hall’s resignation and the hiring of eminent Australian scientist Alan Trounson)

According to the press release announcing her arrival at CIRM in March 2008: Prior to joining the CIRM, Dr. Csete was John E. Steinhaus Professor of Anesthesiology at Emory University, with adjunct appointment in Cell Biology, and program faculty appointments in Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology, Neurosciences, and the Emory/Georgia Tech Biomedical Engineering Program. She was also the director of Liver Transplant Anesthesiology at the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and director of the Emory/Georgia Tech Human Embryonic Stem Cell Core, and co-Director of the Emory MD/PhD Program.


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