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.

Stem Cell Person of Year Award 2015 Top 12 Finalists

The voters have “spoken” and below is the list of the top 12 vote getters from the larger pool of nominees for Stem Cell Person of the Year in 2015. These are some amazing people.

Look for more information, such as mini-bios, soon on some of the top finalists.

There were nearly 4,700 votes in total.

Now I have the tough task of picking from this dozen just one winner, who will receive the recognition as the top stem cell outside the box innovator of 2015 and of course the $2,000 prize.Stem Cell Person of the Year 2015 Award Nominees

 

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.

Stem Cell Person of the Year Award Ceremony for Dr. Masayo Takahashi

Masayo Takahashi,_Paul KnoepflerA few days ago I attended the World Alliance Forum in San Francisco on stem cells and regenerative medicine.

At this meeting in addition to hearing the great talks, meeting new scientists, and having some great discussions in the halls, I had the honor of giving Dr. Masayo Takahashi the 2014 Stem Cell Person of the Year Award (see picture).

She is an inspiration.

Stem Cell Person of the Year 2014: Masayo Takahashi (高橋 政代)

Masayo Takahashi

Dr. Masayo Takahashi,  Asahi photo

Congratulations to Masayo Takahashi (高橋 政代), MD, PhD, the winner of the 2014 Stem Cell Person of the Year Award.

Dr. Takahashi received this award including the $2,000 prize for her exceptional achievements in stem cell research in 2014. She was selected as the winner from a stellar group of top 12 finalists this year.

Takahashi leads a team doing high-risk, high reward research that is conducting the first induced pluripotent stem cell (IPSC) clinical study in humans ever. I interviewed Takahashi at the beginning of this year and you can learn more about her research and vision for the future from reading that interviewMonkey stem cell RPEs

The Takahashi team clinical study is intended to examine the safety of a human retinal pigmented epithelial cell (RPE) product made from each patients’ own IPSCs. You can see at right RPEs produced by her team from monkey pluripotent stem cells.

In an astonishing feat of speedy clinical translation, Takahashi’s team transplanted its first macular degeneration patient recently on September 12, only 7 years after human IPSCs were first ever published. The usual timeline for such translation would be 20 years. In that regard, in a recent interview I did with him, Nobel Laureate Shinya Yamanaka had this to say of Takahashi and her work:

I was surprised that after the announcement of human iPSCs in 2007, Dr. Takahashi told me that she would bring iPSC to the bedside within five years. I thought it possible technically speaking, but doubted it could be done so soon, since we needed to improve the technology and get government approval. It took 7 years, which is remarkable considering the work required. Both the accomplishment and the speed at which it was achieved are testaments to Dr. Takahashi’s leadership and her strong team.

Her achievements extend beyond this year to an outstanding long-term track record in vision research including a very impressive track record of highly-cited publications. Takahashi is physician scientist, who is a faculty member and Project Leader at the Laboratory of Retinal Regeneration at the CDB at RIKEN. Some of her nominators for the Stem Cell Person of the Year Award described her as a “transformative” and “courageous” stem cell scientist. Below you can see a TEDx talk from just a few months ago by Takahashi explaining her work.

Takahashi joins previous Stem Cell Person of the Year Award recipients Roman Reed and Elena Cattaneo as outside-the-box thinkers who to take risks to make outstanding new developments in the arena of stem cell research with the goal of helping others.

More about the Stem Cell Person of the Year Award. I fund this prize myself as a way of giving back to the stem cell community and recognizing transformative people who take risks to help others. It is to my knowledge the only annual, international science-related prize personally funded by a professor.