University College, London, photo
Coffey's decision to leave England emerged during a meeting here today of the governing board of the California stem cell agency, which awarded a $4.9 million recruitment grant to Coffey last fall. Coffey's name came up today during a discussion about extending the agency's $44 million recruitment effort.
CIRM President Alan Trounson said that Coffey had made a final decision about coming to California. CIRM directors were told that Coffey would be at work in November in Santa Barbara. Coffey is known for his work in eye disease and is readying a clinical trial on a therapy.
The growth of stem cell research at UCSB is one of the more dramatic stories to come out of passage of Prop. 71 in 2004, which created California's $3 billion research effort. The campus had virtually no stem cell program at the time. Its grants currently from CIRM run only to $13.5 million, but it has made the most of its research talent and added more.
|UCSB campus -- UCSB photo|
In 2007, UC Santa Barbara's growing work in stem cells attracted a $3 million gift from one of the founders of Amgen, William Bowes. The addition of Coffey to its staff is certain to draw the attention of potential future donors along with such firms as Pfizer, which is a partner in Coffey's work in the UK and which has committed $100 million for stem cell research in that country.
|Dennis Clegg, co-director UCSB|
stem cell program -- UCSB photo
Coffey, UCSB, USC, Caltech, the City of Hope and University College, London, Coffey's former employer, are tied together in The California Project to Cure Blindness, which is seeking to "prevent the loss of vision and improve the quality of life for those suffering from age-related macular degeneration by 2015."
UCSB has not yet made an official announcement of Coffey's decision, but the California Stem Cell Report is querying the school. Sphere: Related Content