Sunday, May 08, 2005

Behind the Stem Cell Scene

Columnists Matier and Ross of the San Francisco Chronicle popped up with a tidbit this morning on the stem cell HQ affair and the scientist and rag merchant who played background roles. Here is what the writers had to say:

“All the money and lofty arguments aside, San Francisco's landing of California's prestigious new stem cell research institute may have hinged on one very practical consideration.

Zach Hall, the center's interim chief executive officer, lives in San Francisco -- and had privately made it clear to anyone who would listen that he was in no mood to move to San Diego.

“As a matter of fact, friends say his desire to be closer to home in the city -- where his wife has a full-time job at the Symphony -- was one reason he quit his last job commuting three times a week to the USC medical school and took the interim stem cell post.

“By the way, much of the credit for San Francisco's stem cell victory is being given to Gap founder Don Fisher, who -- just as things were looking a bit grim -- rallied local developers to provide rent-free space for the headquarters.

UCSF Vice Chancellor Bruce Spaulding, who was part of the informal team that worked on the bid, said the developers needed to be convinced of the long- term financial benefits of landing the project.

“'For all the mayor did, Spaulding said, 'the guy who made the argument most eloquently and powerfully was Don Fisher.'”
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