Robert Wechsler-Reya is the first scientist to be recruited through a $44 million effort by the California stem cell agency. CIRM's board awarded him $6 million last April, although he was yet to make a final decision. Also believed to be coming to Sanford-Burnham is his spouse, Tannishtha Reya.
In addition to CIRM's signing bonus, Sanford-Burnham is providing “an extremely generous commitment of laboratory space, matching funds for equipment, additional support for relocation and research, and access to excellent core facilities,” according to CIRM documents.
An anonymous but well-informed source told us that the couple had made a final decision on the move to La Jolla in Southern California. We are querying the Duke researchers, CIRM and Sanford-Burnham for comment.
CIRM directors created the program last year to bring “paradigm-shifting” scientists – “franchise players” – to California. At least 12 members of the 29-member CIRM board are connected to institutions that can benefit from the program.
Look for more of what CIRM calls “research leadership awards” later this month. Reviewers met behind closed doors last month to pick some new, lucky recipients. Their decisions should go to the full CIRM board at its meeting later this month.
(Photos from the Reya and Wechsler-Reya labs)