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Friday, June 26, 2009

Chief Scientific Officer Resigns from S.F.-Based State Stem Cell Agency

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2009 at 12:01 AM

click to enlarge Marie Csete
  • Marie Csete

The chief scientific officer at California's stem-cell agency has announced that she will step down from her position in a little over a month.

Marie Csete, who had been at the San Francisco-based California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) for slightly more than a year, has so far offered no specific reasons for leaving the agency, which was created to fund stem-cell research through Proposition 71. Csete was highly respected in the medical-science community, and news of her departure has not settled well so far among doctors and researchers.

David Jensen, publisher of the California Stem Cell Report blog, quotes a few researchers who call Csete's decision "regrettable" and "tragic." John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog says Csete's resignation "speaks volumes about CIRM's management... One doesn't walk away from a $310,000 a year job at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) without a very good reason."

We left a message with Csete at her office asking about her reasons for

resigning. No word back yet. CIRM spokesman Don Gibbons says in an

e-mail that "this was absolutely, completely Marie's decision, so she

is the only one who can give her reasons."

Csete departs as CIRM

prepares to issue a crucial round of grants for "disease teams"

designed to speed stem-cell science toward clinical applications. We

quoted Csete in an April cover story on the political ferment and scientific controversy surrounding this effort, which many medical scientists say is premature.

We'll keep you updated as more information becomes available on the circumstances surrounding Csete's decision.

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Peter Jamison

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