Top 12 Finalists for Stem Cell Person of the Year 2013

Stem-Cell-SymbolThe voting is over and we have our top 12 finalists for the 2013 Stem Cell Person of the Year Award. You can see the final votes results below. It’s definitely an intriguing list that reflects the range of important areas in the field today.

I can say without any hesitation that all 12 of them have had major impacts on the stem cell field and I believe are likely to continue doing so. Keep in mind that the voting up until now was simply to chose the top 12 finalists. Any of the 12, regardless of vote total in the previous stage, could be picked to receive the Award.

I’m going to have a challenge picking just one from these finalists. I plan to announce the Award recipient within a week or so. Stay tuned for more details. Meantime, here are the finalists.

Robert Lanza, Scientific Leader of Advanced Cell Technology with its ongoing FDA-approved embryonic stem cell-based clinical trials for macular degeneration.

Chris Centeno, a physician provider of stem cell treatments. A leading proponent of changes in the regulation of adult stem cell therapies.Stem Cell Person of the Year 2013 Finalists

Ted Harada, a patient advocate for ALS and the stem cell field, who is advocating for changes in stem cell clinical trials and compassionate use.

Don C. Reed, a long time patient advocate instrumental in the passage of Prop 71, the creation of CIRM, and continuing success of the stem cell field.

Pope Francis, the leader of the global Catholic Church and an advocate for adult stem cell therapies.

Jeff Sheehy, an active Member of the CIRM Governing Board and an HIV/AIDS and stem cell patient advocate.

Leigh Turner, a Professor at UMN and Bioethicist active in promoting evidence-based medicine and appropriate regulation of stem cell commercial ventures to protect patients.

Elena Cattaneo, a leading stem cell researcher in Italy who stood up against the Stamina Foundation pushing for use of their nebulous stem cell product.

Sabrina Cohen, an educator and inspirational, long-time leading patient advocate for stem cells and spinal cord injury research.

Patricia Olson, a stem cell scientist who has been a major driving force in CIRM’s success and the agency’s continuing positive evolution over the years.

Masayo Takahashi, the stem cell scientist leading the team conducting the first ever in human study of an iPS cell-based therapy, which happens to also be for macular degeneration.

Shoukhrat Mitalipov, the scientist whose team performed the first ever successful human SCNT (therapeutic cloning) to produce patient-specific human ES cells and investigating oocyte-based strategies for treating mitochondrial disorders.

14 thoughts on “Top 12 Finalists for Stem Cell Person of the Year 2013


  1. Hmm, Robert Lanza tops the list. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the same Robert Lanza who pushes his theory of biocentrism… The conventional scientific view would be that the laws of biology are emergent from the laws of physics and chemistry. Robert Lanza promotes the reverse view. If Robert Lanza is correct, we better all watch out. He might re-program some stem cells to change the laws of the physical universe.

    Now if time could be reversed, it would help my arthritis. But would such cures fall within the jurisdiction of the FDA?

    It would be a fantastic ethical dilemma for Leigh Turner to contemplate. (Medical tourism in the temporal domain! Heck, fodder for Doug Sipp, a contender in a previous year.) I’m sure that Pope Francis would be intrigued by the religious implications. Indeed, what a quandry that we would all revert to an embryonic state and that those embryo’s would inevitably be destroyed. Would souls revert to living beings and thence to? What would religion sell in such circumstances?

    I just can’t believe any of it.


      • The biocentrism hypothesis is that the laws of physics are determined by biology. Accept biocentrism as an axiom and you get stuff like this:

        “As unimaginable as it may seem to us, the logic of quantum physics is inescapable.
        Every morning we open our front door to bring in the paper or to go to work. We open the door to rain, snow, or trees swaying in the breeze. We think the world churns along whether we happen to open the door or not.
        Quantum mechanics tells us it doesn’t.”

        Reference:
        http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2007/03/robert_lanza_do/

        The point of my little story was to demonstrate where this sort of false science leads to. We wouldn’t want the result of your poll to cause a halo effect that lends credence to such flawed science.


        • I disagree. This is not “flawed” science at all. It is delving into the philosophy of science and it is very much relevant to theoretical biology. Many of the greatest physicists, for example, were philosophers too including Einstein and dug deeply in their writings into theory and in particular quantum theory.


          • What Lanza is pushing is a variation on the “strong anthropic principle”. You invoke Einstein as somehow being in support of such scientific fallacy. Unfortunately, Einstein isn’t here to speak for himself. But this view of his should give you pause:
            “A human being is a part of a whole, called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness”.

            As for more modern physicists, Gell-Mann (in his book “The Quark and the Jaguar”) has this to say about the strong anthropic principle:
            “In its strongest form, however, such a principle will supposedly apply to the dynamics of the elementary particles and the initial conditions of the universe, somehow shaping those fundamental laws so as to produce human beings. That idea seems to me so ridiculous as to merit no further discussion.”

            As to the more general question about philosophy, I think that Richard Feynman was overly generous when he said:
            “Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds.”


  2. Who do the people really follow?????? Easy choice as I see it.

    Chris Centeno – has 1,361 followers.
    877 tweets

    Robert Lanza – has 48,600K + followers
    95 tweets


  3. these are the facts…why delete them.

    Chris Centeno – has 1,361 followers.
    877 tweets

    Robert Lanza – has 48,600K + followers
    95 tweets


    • Pope Francis has 173 tweets and 3,108,121 followers. Of course, that’s nothing compared to his boss — zero tweets and billions of followers!

      I’m sorry, but I think that “followers” are totally overrated.


      • The # of Followers someone has on Twitter has varying degrees of meaning. It can be very significant or not very significant depending on the circumstances.

        Same is true of # of Tweets. Some people Tweet like crazy (e.g. 100s of times a week) and frankly it is just noise.

        It is also worth noting that some–in fact the vast majority– of scientists are just not that into social media. I think that’s going to change, but it will take time.

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  7. I am so happy see Shoukhrat Mitalipov in the list. Shoukhrat Mitalipov is good scientist. I hope Shoukhrat Mitalipov make scientist history.

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