Nominations open for Stem Cell Person of the Year 2016 Award

Nominations are open starting today for the Stem Cell Person of the Year Award for 2016. Please email me your nominations: knoepflerATucdavisDOTedu.stem-cell-person-of-the-year-award

This is a unique award as it is given to an individual who has taken risks to help others within the stem cell field and they based their actions on outside-the-box thinking.

Another unusual aspect is that anyone is eligible for the prize whether you are a scientist, physician, patient, writer, student, etc. There are also no geographic restrictions.

The winner receives recognition as a positive leader in this arena and a $2,000 cash prize that I award myself out of pocket.

Nominations will close one month from today on October 15th.

The nominations I receive will then be subject to an Internet vote and the top 50% will be the finalists, from which I will choose the winner. While I alone choose the winner, I often get feedback from leaders around the globe in the stem cell and regenerative medicine field.

Previous winners include these stellar stem cell leaders:

Who will win the Stem Cell Person of the Year Award for 2016? Send me your nominations.

At #ISSCR2016, $2,000 donation to Summit For Stem Cell patient group

Summit for Stem Cell

Screenshot from Summit for Stem Cell website

Something very unusual and positive just happened at this year’s ISSCR meeting.

Every year in December I give out an award for the Stem Cell Person of the Year to the individual with the strongest positive impact in the stem cell field generated specifically from outside-the-box thinking and actions.

Dr. Jeanne Loring was the recipient in 2015. The award comes with a $2,000 prize that I pay myself. Jeanne declined it, but that money is now going to support an innovative Parkinson’s patient research group called Summit for Stem Cell.

Jeanne and her lab work with Parkinson’s Disease patient advocates together as the overall Summit for Stem Cell team toward the goal of IPS cell-based therapies for Parkinson’s. This is a very exciting area of research. Part of the reason Jeanne got the Stem Cell Person of the Year Award is her unique combination of great translational science and a bigger picture sense of how to make stem cell therapies become a reality.

Putting our heads together regarding the $2,000 prize from last year, Jeanne and I decided along with Summit for Stem Cell leader Jenifer Raub that the money would go to that group to support their outstanding efforts.

Knoepfler Loring Raub

The three of us just met up a few hours ago at ISSCR 2016 for me to give a $2,000 check to Jenifer (see picture above with me, Jeanne, and Jenifer from left to right).

Continue reading

Stem cell field in mourning: Paolo Bianco dies at 60

Paolo Bianco

Photo from Corriere Della Sera

Paolo Bianco reportedly has died at age 60. This is terribly sad news and a huge loss for the stem cell community.

Paolo made great contributions both in the science of stem cells itself and also in the area of advocating for responsible science. It is challenging to do both and he did it incredibly well.

Last year he received the ISSCR Community Service Award along with Elena Cattaneo and Michele De Luca for their work in Italy on the very difficult Stamina crisis.

Paolo was a dedicated champion of evidence-based medicine in the stem cell field. For instance, here is a Nature piece he wrote calling for responsible conduct in the stem cell field, entitled, “Don’t market stem-cell products ahead of proof”. I strongly share that vision.

We’ve lost a great force for good in science and policy. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

More to come.

Stem Cell Person of the Year Award 2015: Nominations Open

stem cell logoIt’s time for the 4th annual Stem Cell Person of the Year Award process to start.

Please send me your nominations for the person you think had the biggest positive impact in the stem cell and regenerative medicine world in 2015.

This award is unique in a number of ways. For example, anyone in the world is eligible to be nominated: both scientists and non-scientists alike. The nominee should also be someone who thought outside the box and took risks, which are novel areas of emphasis for this stem cell and regenerative medicine award.

Another special element is that the finalists are chosen from the nominees via an Internet vote by you, the readers of this blog. From the finalists I will choose the winner, who will receive recognition for their global leadership and innovation as well as a $2,000 cash prize that I pay myself.

Submit your nominations by Oct. 13 via email to me: knoepfler@ucdavis.edu.

On Oct. 14, Stem Cell Awareness Day, I will announce the nominees. The Internet vote will begin soon after that.

Past winners of the Stem Cell Person of the Year Award include some amazing difference makers.

Dr. Masayo Takahashi won in 2014 and this year also received the inaugural Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell Prize.

Dr. Elena Cattaneo received the award in 2013 and went on to get the ISSCR Public Service Award in 2014 along with colleagues.

In 2012 the winner was top stem cell patient advocate Roman Reed, who went on in 2013 to receive the GPI Stem Cell Inspiration Award.

Who deserves this year’s Stem Cell Person of the Year Award as the most impactful, innovative person in the world of stem cells? Let me know via your nominations.

Masayo Takahashi (高橋 政代) Receives Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell Prize

Masayo TakahashiThe winner of the inaugural Ogawa-Yamanaka Prize is Dr. Masayo Takahashi, MD, PhD.

According to the Gladstone Institute press release, “Dr. Takahashi was awarded the prize for her trailblazing work leading the first clinical trial to use induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in humans.”

The prize, including a $150,000 cash award, will be given at a ceremony next week at the Gladstone on September 16. If you are interested in listening in, you can register for the webcast here.

Dr. Takahashi started the first ever human clinical study using iPS cells, which is focused on treating of macular degeneration using retinal pigmented epithelial cells derived from human iPS cells.

Congratulations to Dr. Takahashi for the great and well-deserved honor of the Ogawa-Yamanaka Prize.

As readers of this blog likely recall, Dr. Takahashi received our blog’s Stem Cell Person of the Year Award last year in honor of her pioneering work and that included a $2,000 prize.

Other past winners of our Stem Cell Person of the Year Award have gone on to get additional awards too.

The 2013 Stem Cell Person of the Year, Dr. Elena Cattaneo, went on to win the ISSCR Public Service Award in 2014 along with colleagues.

And our 2012 Stem Cell Person of the Year Award winner, stellar patient advocate Roman Reed, went on in 2013 to receive the GPI Stem Cell Inspiration Award.

The more we can recognize the pioneers and outside-the-box thinkers in the stem cell field, the better.