Monday, February 27, 2012

Trounson Talks Stem Cells in Qatar

Qatar Conference Center
If our readers in the Middle East are looking for a first-hand assessment of the state of stem cell research, they might want to take in the four-day conference this week in Qatar, which features the president of the $3 billion California stem cell agency.

Alan Trounson is one of a number of international stem cell notables at the session at the new Qatar Conference Center in the tiny nation in the Persian Gulf. The country is putting on the conference as a means of developing its own stem cell research capabilities.

Qatar had a gross national product of $129 billion in 2010, with a per capita income of $138,000, according to the U.S. State Department. The population is about 1.7 million, more than 75 percent of whom are foreigners with temporary residence status.

In addition to Trounson, other California and CIRM-connected researchers are speaking at the conference in the Qatar center, which just opened in December.  They include David Baltimore, Nobel Laureate and a former director of the stem cell agency. A company Baltimore co-founded, Calimmune, of Tucson, Az., is sharing in a $20 million CIRM grant. Other CIRM grant recipients or representatives of recipient companies appearing at the conference are Irv Weissman of Stanford; Deepak Srivastava of the Gladstone Institute, and Ann Tsukamoto Weissman of Stem Cells Inc. of Newark, Ca.

Social activities at the conference include sand dune "bashing" in off-road vehicles, camel tracking along with a look at their "robot jockeys" and a visit to the original Arabic Oryx farm. Sphere: Related Content

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