ISSCR Awards Announced for Innovation, Public Service and Outstanding Young Investigator

Newswise — Deerfield, IL, USA, May 26, 2011 — Three key awards – the ISSCR McEwen Centre Award for Innovation, the ISSCR Public Service Award and the Outstanding Young Investigator Award – will be presented at the 9th annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), June 15-18, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The McEwen award and the ISSCR Public Service Award are new honors this year, while the Outstanding Young Investigator Award will be presented for the third consecutive year.

The recipients of the inaugural ISSCR McEwen Centre Award for Innovation are Kazutoshi Takahashi, PhD, lecturer, Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University and Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, director, Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, and Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences, Kyoto University. The award recognizes their paradigm-shifting work demonstrating the reprogramming of adult/tissue-specific cells using transcription factors that has resulted in a rapid development of novel tools and strategies for use in the pursuit of better understanding and treating disease. This award, supported by the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Toronto, recognizes original thinking and groundbreaking research pertaining to stem cells or regenerative medicine that opens new avenues of exploration towards the understanding or treatment of human disease or affliction, acknowledging key early-career and senior investigators.

The inaugural ISSCR Public Service Award will be presented to Robert Klein, Chairman of the Governing Board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), for his outstanding contribution of public service to the field of stem cell research and regenerative medicine. Through his vision as author and champion of the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative (Proposition 71), Klein secured long-term financial support for stem cell research in California. Through his leadership at CIRM, Klein developed a framework that fosters new and established talent, innovative science and clinical application. His advocacy for stable financial support for stem cell research on the international stage has been unprecedented.

The 2011 ISSCR Outstanding Young Investigator Award winner is Robert Blelloch, MD, PhD, assistant professor, Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research, Center for Reproductive Sciences, and Department of Urology, University of California San Francisco. Supported by the University of Pittsburgh, this award recognizes the exceptional achievements of an investigator in the early part of his or her independent career in stem cell research.

Dr. Blelloch’s work on microRNAs has defined a new level of control for the behavior of pluripotent stem cells, providing profound insights into early mammalian development and the molecular basis of cancer. He will present his research at the meeting on Wednesday, June 15.

The awards will be presented throughout the ISSCR 9th Annual Meeting at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. More information about the meeting is available at http://www.isscr.org.

The International Society for Stem Cell Research is an independent, nonprofit membership organization established to promote and foster the exchange and dissemination of information and ideas relating to stem cells, to encourage the general field of research involving stem cells and to promote professional and public education in all areas of stem cell research and application.

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