California Stem Cell Agency Losing President, Panel Head
Zach Hall, president of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, on Tuesday announced his resignation, effective April 30, the Los Angeles Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 4/18).
The resignation comes two months before Hall planned to retire (East Bay Business Times, 4/17).
California voters in 2004 approved Proposition 71 to create CIRM and to provide $3 billion in taxpayer funding over 10 years for stem cell research. The funding primarily was intended to finance stem cell research, such as human embryonic stem cell research, for which federal funds are restricted (California Healthline, 3/13).
In a letter to the agency, Hall said a recent diagnosis of prostate cancer, as well as a conflict with an agency subcommittee regarding construction grants for new laboratories, led to his resignation (Downing, Sacramento Bee, 4/18). Hall said he would undergo surgery in May (AP/Contra Costa Times, 4/18).
Janet Wright, a member of the agency's governing board, said the letter refers to a subcommittee meeting on Friday that involved plans for grants to fund $222 million in new laboratory space at universities and research institutes across the state.
Wright said Hall and the subcommittee disagreed over the speed at which the process would take place. Hall in his letter said the last meeting had an "exceedingly contentious and occasionally personal tone."
Albert Doms, chair of the subcommittee, on Sunday also submitted his resignation.
Bob Klein, chair of the CIRM governing board, said Doms told him he was resigning only because of time conflicts with the subcommittee meetings (Sacramento Bee, 4/18). Klein said he did not think Doms' resignation was related to conflicts between Hall and the committee (Somers, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/18).
Klein said the agency's presidential search panel might appoint an interim president until a permanent choice is made, possibly at a meeting in June (Hall, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/18).