Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Balloting Begins on Stem Cell Person of the Year

The nominations are in. Voting has begun, with about 1,000 ballots cast so far. But only one vote truly counts. That belongs to Paul Knoepfler, who is running the The Stem Cell Person of the Year contest and will pony up $1,000 of his hard-earned cash to honor the winner.

On Monday, Knoepfler announced 16 finalists out of 30 nominees. They range from scientists to patients to advocates. Voting began instantly and will continue until Dec. 31 at 11:59 p.m. Votes will count for something, but Knoepfler makes it clear that they are only advisory. He makes the decision.

This is Knoepfler's first year at the contest. The UC Davis stem cell researcher, patient advocate and blogger wants to recognize someone who made a difference and took some risks in doing so.

You can find the entire list of candidates on Knoepfler's blog, but we wanted to note that they have a father and son competing against each other – Don Reed and his son, Roman. (Could be tense around the holiday tables in the Reeds' households.) Also on the list is Jeanne Loring of Scripps, whose nominator said engages the wider community with great effectiveness. I once heard Loring say that every stem cell researcher should have a spiel that could be delivered in five minutes in a taxi and that would not only explain stem cell research, but persuade the cab driver of its virtues.

All of the nominees have much to recommend them. Knoepfler will be chewing his fingernails before this is all over.  

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