From Synapse 5.20.04


UCSF Names First Director of Stem Cell Biology Program

Signaling an important milestone in its pioneering stem cell efforts, UCSF School of Medicine has announced the first director of its Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Program will be Arnold R. Kriegstein, MD, PhD, scientific director of the Neural Stem Cell Center at Columbia University. He will assume the UCSF post in August.

"Kriegstein brings to UCSF an international reputation for his work on neuronal stem cells in the developing brain, and is ideally suited to lead this important UCSF program at the scientific frontier," said UCSF School of Medicine Dean David Kessler, MD, in his recent announcement. The program will be an important new cornerstone of the UCSF Parnassus campus, says Kessler, the site of many discoveries in the biomedical sciences, including two that led to Nobel prizes - one regarding the genetic underpinnings of cancer, and one regarding the identification of prions, which cause some forms of neurodegeneration, including "mad cow" disease.

"We are extremely pleased to welcome Dr. Kriegstein to UCSF," says UCSF Chancellor Mike Bishop, MD. "The field of stem cell research is in its infancy, but the potential to add to our basic knowledge of human development and to establish therapeutic applications is enormous. UCSF has been a pioneer in the field from the outset, and we look forward to Dr. Kriegstein's leadership as our scientists continue to explore the nature and capacity of these cells."

The new Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Program, which this past winter met the Grove "Stem Cell Challenge" - raising the funding level to date to more than $11 million in gifts and matching funds -- recently awarded $50,000 grants, with the potential for renewal, to four scientists. The grants fuel studies aimed at developing a gene-trapping technology to examine the decision-making process that prompts embryonic stem cells to develop into specialized cells.
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