Friday, February 8, 2013

Two CIRM grantees win awards for their work

Turns out we’re not the only people who think our grantees do great work. Two of our grantees at University of California, Santa Barbara and Stanford received prestigious awards for their stem cell research.

Joanna Wysocka
Joanna Wysocka from Stanford received an award from the Vilcek Foundation, which honors foreign-born scientists and artists (Wysocka was born in Poland). She was also recognized as the Outstanding Young Investigator by the International Society for Stem Cell Research in 2010. The Vilcek Foundation wrote about her shift from other areas of biomedical research to stem cells:
The shift also took her out of the lab and directly into the controversy over stem cell research. “Given the circumstances in which I grew up,” she explains, “I am passionate about personal, scientific, and academic freedom,” adding “it is our obligation as scientists to educate and engage the public, and to remain guardians of liberty in pursuing scientific ideas.”
Wysocka has received SEED, New Faculty, and Basic Biology III awards from CIRM.

Dennis Clegg
At UCSB, Dennis Clegg was one of ten winners of the National Eye Institute’s Audacious Goals challenge. His audacious goal is the same as ours – to help blind people see again. Clegg is part of a disease team led by Mark Humayun at the University of Southern California, which aims to develop a therapy for macular degeneration based on retinal cells generated from embryonic stem cells.

A press release from UCSB quotes Clegg:
"The eye has many advantages for developing stem cell therapies –– it is accessible, few cells are needed, efficacy can be quantified, and we have made tremendous progress in recent years in understanding how to generate ocular cells from stem cells," Clegg said.
Congratulations to these two deserving scientists!


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