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).

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Stem Cell Person of the Year 2015: Jeanne Loring

Jeanne LoringCongratulations to Dr. Jeanne Loring, the winner of the Stem Cell Person of the Year Award for 2015.

Facing steep competition from a very tough field of competitors of finalists, Jeanne came out as the winner for her exceptional contributions in 2015 and throughout her many years in the field. She not only has made numerous advances scientifically, but also gone the extra mile in many respects as an advocate and educator.

Her scientific contributions include outstanding research on human stem cells and in particular in stem cell epigenetics. See her publications on GoogleScholar.  She has been a great mentor to her trainees. You can visit her lab page here.

She has also been a creative leader in producing IPS cells from endangered species, an area with huge potential ecologically and at a societal level in terms of preventing extinctions.

Jeanne has mobilized patient advocates and catalyzed exciting work in the clinical pipeline in a number of areas including most prominently in the last few years for Parkinson’s Disease.

For instance, the patient organization Summit for Stem Cell that Jeanne works on is doing amazing things.

More broadly, Jeanne has often led the way on important, but difficult issues such as on the WARF patent challenge. In addition, she has been a fierce advocate for evidence-based medicine and has been unafraid to challenge predatory stem cell clinics. A video of Jeanne talking about stem cell tourism is pasted above.

Overall, Jeanne has had a transformative positive impact at least in part via taking risks and thinking outside the box, important criteria for the Stem Cell Person of the Year Award.

Jeanne has declined the $2,000 financial component of the Award. I’m currently considering whether to donate the funds to a charity or put them towards a novel educational outreach project in the stem cell field.