CIRM itself is undergoing changes as it anticipates a key turning point in 2017 when it will not have state funding from Prop 71 any longer barring some new development.
I posted before about the results of a very informal survey of stem cell bigwigs about who they were thinking about as possible candidates for the new CIRM President. That post was clearly just a tip of an iceberg of the potential range of candidates.
Since that time, not surprisingly, more names have come up for potential candidates to be the new CIRM President.
An name that has popped up several times recently is that of Dr. Evan Snyder. Evan is an M.D., Ph.D. who is the Director of the Stem Cells & Regenerative Biology Program at Sanford/Burnham. He is a true pioneer in the stem cell field with strong translational interests.
In addition, Dr. Peter Donovan has been mentioned to me by several people recently as a candidate for the new CIRM President. Peter started the UC Irvine Stem Cell Center and has outstanding stem cell research experience.
Current CIRM Vice President, Ellen Feigal, who certainly knows the agency like no other candidate could and has great leadership experience, has also been mentioned by several people as a logical candidate to be the new President.
An important question is whether Evan or Peter would be willing, as some have suggested would be necessary for stem cell scientists who might be the new CIRM President, to give up their research programs and labs. Or, perhaps, one of them could convince CIRM to let him keep it part time?
It seems like Evan, Peter, and Ellen are all candidates that CIRM should take a close look at as they search for a new President.
I’m thinking the names of yet additional qualified candidates are going to be discussed in the interim until we hear more from CIRM itself about its list of candidates, which I imagine will happen sometime in the first half of next year. Time is of the essence and the new leader will play a crucial role not only for CIRM, but for all of stem cell research in California for many years to come.