Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pera Cites Personal and Professional Reasons for Returning to Australia

Scientist Martin Pera said tonight that he was departing as head of the USC stem cell research program for both personal reasons and an opportunity to help lead a national consortium in Australia.

Pera also said that disposition of the $7.4 million in grants from CIRM in which he is the principal investigator is under discussion with the agency, USC and himself.

Pera came to California in 2006 from Australia to launch the USC stem cell effort.

His comments came in response to a query from the California Stem Cell Report. Here is the text of what he emailed.

"It has been a fantastic and very rewarding experience to serve as the Founding Director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC. I am very grateful for the support of the Broad Foundation, the University of Southern California, and CIRM in this endeavor. I have been able to bring on board some great young scientists who are doing exciting and innovative stem cell research, and to work with clinical colleagues on some very promising new therapeutic approaches in regenerative medicine. The University is fully committed to recruiting a world class scientist to guide the Center through its next stage in development.

"The opportunity to help lead a national stem cell research consortium in Australia, alongside personal considerations, were key factors in my decision to move to the University of Melbourne, a top ranked institution in biomedical research.

"The disposition of the CIRM grants on which I am Principal Investigator is a matter under discussion between the Keck School of Medicine, CIRM, and myself, but there is no question of these funds being used to support research conducted outside of the State of California."

In an aside, Pera said he has "always enjoyed" the California Stem Cell Report.

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