Allison Brashear, dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine, has been sworn in as the newest member of the board of the state’s stem cell agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). She was selected to represent UC Davis by Chancellor Gary May.
The stem cell agency was created in 2004 when California voters approved to fund stem cell research in the state. Brashear joins CIRM’s 29-member governing board, which is composed of researchers, biotech industry leaders and patient advocates.
A neurologist by training, Brashear brings her focus on patient-centered care to CIRM, as well as a vigorous commitment to health research and to encouraging more women to pursue careers in medicine and science.
“Patient-centered care is at the core of all that we do at CIRM, so Dr. Brashear is an excellent addition to the team,” said Jonathan Thomas, chair of the CIRM board in a press release announcing Brashear’s selection. “She has an extraordinary reputation as a physician and researcher, and also as a powerful advocate for women in science. We are delighted to have her join us.”
UC Davis has excelled in its work on regenerative medicine over the past 16 years. CIRM has funded 59 of the university’s stem cell research projects, totaling more than $143 million. The funding helped establish the UC Davis Institute of Regenerative Cures on the Sacramento campus. It has fostered dozens of studies and currently there are 41 ongoing clinical trials related to potential stem cell therapies.
“Dean Brashear will play a key role on the CIRM board,” said Jan Nolta, director of the UC Davis Stem Cell Program. “This is a crucial time in stem cell research. Dr. Brashear brings a deep understanding of what it takes to move from the laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside as we work to translate research into cures.”
In the stem cell agency’s announcement last week, Brashear said she was honored to join the CIRM board because its “innovative work offers hope to patients suffering from both rare and common diseases.” She noted that the state agency is focused on “improving the health of all Californians through partnerships between communities and researchers to deliver groundbreaking health care treatments.”
Joining Brashear as the UC Davis alternate on the CIRM board is James Kovach. Kovach is the chief innovation officer for Aggie Square. He also serves as director of Entrepreneurism and Innovation at UC Davis Health, where he supports physician training in entrepreneurship, as well as industry outreach to support translational science.