California Stem Cell Institute Names New Interim President
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine named Richard Murphy, former chief of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, as its new interim president on Wednesday, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Murphy was a member of the Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee for CIRM from its launch in January 2005 until his retirement from Salk last month (Somers, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/9).
In 2004, California voters approved Proposition 71 to create CIRM to administer $3 billion in state funds for stem cell research (California Healthline, 7/24).
CIRM's first president, Zach Hall, vacated the position in April. Lori Hoffman has served as interim president since Hall's departure (San Francisco Business Times, 8/8).
CIRM officials had expected to have a new permanent president in place by June or July, but that process is taking longer than expected.
Murphy has a six-month, $300,000 contract with CIRM. He said he will not consider taking on the position on a permanent basis (San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/9).
Given his background at Salk, Murphy will not participate in decisions affecting San Diego-area institutions (San Francisco Business Times, 8/8).
At ICOC's meeting on Wednesday, officials from the California State University and California Community Colleges systems pitched a plan for a training program for workers to meet the needs of laboratories doing stem cell research in California.
To develop the program, educational system officials are requesting $30.87 million over five years from CIRM.
Susan Baxter, director of a CSU program that trains workers for careers in biotechnology, said the program would cost about $7,500 per student over five years.
Charles Reed, chancellor of CSU, said that the program could train 4,000 workers to work in stem cell labs (Leuty, San Francisco Business Times, 8/8).
Some ICOC members were skeptical of the proposal, questioning whether the project is appropriate use of CIRM funding.
A subcommittee has been appointed to consider whether Proposition 71 permits ICOC to approve such a grant request. The subcommittee also will consider alternative funding sources for the training initiative (Somers, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/9).