Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Cerberus and The Scientist

Leanne Jones watches fruit flies. John M. Simpson watches the Oversight Committee of the California stem cell agency.

Both Jones (see photo) and Simpson came together on Sunday in an article about the scientist and the watchdog by Bradley J. Fikes on the North County Times in the San Diego area.

Fikes wrote about their different perspectives on the $3 billion research effort that has come to be so important in their lives. In the case of Jones, the Oversight Committee last month approved a $2.7 million grant for Jones and her work at the Salk Institute.

Fikes wrote,
"'Early on in your career, you have all these ideas, and you have to be very focused because your funds are so limited,' Jones said. 'Since I started my lab, I've had to spend a considerable amount of time writing grants to try to fund the lab once my initial funding from the Salk ran out. That meant that I could do very little in the way of "hands-on" experiments.

"'This CIRM grant gives me enough of a base so that I don't have to write grants for a while, which means I can spend more time in the lab actually doing the experiments, rather than just talking or writing about them. ... This is going to be fun.'"
As for Simpson, he described his role as a constructive effort to make sure that taxpayers get what they pay for and to ensure that CIRM research benefits the public at a price that people can afford. Simpson also noted that his organization, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumers Rights, has acted to remove impediments to stem cell research in general, citing the challenges to the stem cell patents held by WARF.

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