Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Reaching Down Under: A Chance to Weigh In on California Stem Cell Matters

It is not often that the folks in Australia have a chance to sit in on the deliberations of the elite group that operates the largest single source of funding in the world for embryonic stem cell research.

But next Tuesday all of you folks down under will have a chance, particularly if you are already in the Melbourne area, which, unfortunately, is quite distant from the big stem cell conference this week in Cairns. Likewise, Californians throughout the state will have a rare chance to easily be part of the discussions of the Oversight Committee of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

The occasion is an unusual teleconference session of the 29-member Oversight Committee to consider candidates to take over as president of the $3 billion research program as well as their compensation.

The conference call arrangement was set up because it is physically difficult to bring together all 29 directors of the institute.

Three sites are available in San Francisco and two in Los Angeles, not including one at UCLA and one in Pasadena . Locations are also available in Sacramento, Chico, La Jolla, Newport Beach, Carlsbad, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Mill Valley and Healdsburg. The specific addresses can be found on the meeting's agenda.

A couple of tips: Some of the addresses do not include room numbers, such as the one for the Westin Hotel in Melbourne. That is apparently where Robert Klein, chair of the agency, is staying. Query CIRM in advance at info@cirm.ca.gov if you have questions about the specific locations. Also show up well in advance in case some officious type is inclined to delay your entrance. By law, these are public meetings. If you are hampered or barred from entry, please send me a note at djensen@californiastemcellreport.com.

The meeting promises to be short, perhaps 90 minutes, and only has the presidential matter on the agenda. If you like, you can also sit in on the presidential search subcommittee meeting the previous evening at many of the same locations.

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