Emeryville, CA – Zach Hall, Ph.D., Interim President, announced today the appointment of Arlene Chiu, Ph.D. as Director, Scientific Programs and Review of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (“CIRM”).

Dr. Chiu is a distinguished developmental neurobiologist who is currently Associate Director of the Office of Research Administration of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (“NIBIB”), one of the National Institutes of Health (“NIH”). At the NIBIB, she oversees grants management, extramural review and policy programs, and serves as the Executive Secretary of the National Advisory Council for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. Previously, she was Program Director of Stem Cell Research and of Spinal Cord Injury at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (“NINDS”). In 2004, she received the NIH Director’s Award for “outstanding contributions to the development of stem cell research at the NINDS and the NIH.” Before coming to the NIH, Dr. Chiu was a tenured Associate Professor at the Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Duarte, CA.

CIRM was established in 2004 with the passage of Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, and will be responsible for disbursing $3 billion for stem cell research to California universities and research institutions over ten or more years. As the Director of Scientific Program and Review of CIRM, Dr. Chiu will be responsible for managing the research portfolio of the Institute and for organizing and directing the review of research grant applications. Her appointment is effective May 1, 2005.

“Recruiting Arlene Chiu as our first scientific appointment is a major coup for the Institute,” said Zach Hall, Ph.D., Interim President, CIRM. “She is undoubtedly the most knowledgeable scientific program director at NIH about stem cell research world-wide. Of the many candidates who applied, Arlene’s strong research background and administrative experience made her a clear first choice for this position.”

At NIH, Dr. Chiu was a leader in organizing stem cell research programs, serving on both the NIH Stem Cell Task Force and on the NIH Stem Cell Implementation Committee. She organized the first NINDS workshop on stem cells, as well as an international meeting in Sweden to promote collaborations between investigators in the US and abroad. She also represented the United States at stem cell conferences in England, Korea, Sweden and China. At NINDS, Dr. Chiu also led efforts to promote cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in expediting the use of stem cells in therapies. She has co-edited, with Mahendra S. Rao, a leading book on stem cell research entitled Human Embryonic Stem Cells.

“Dr. Arlene Chiu is an accomplished researcher and administrator who understands contemporary biomedical science,” said Dr. Michael Friedman, President and CEO of the City of Hope and member of the Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee. “California is fortunate to have her back, contributing her talent and experience to CIRM.”

Dr. Chiu received her pre-doctoral and post-doctoral training at the California Institute of Technology and at Washington University. As an independent investigator, her research focused on mammalian motor neurons and their responses to injury and disease.

“CIRM provides a unique opportunity for investigators in California to move stem cell research forward in new directions and at a rapid pace,” Dr. Chiu said. “I am very excited to be able to participate in this effort.

Dr. Chiu has been active in working with patient advocacy and professional groups and has received commendations from the National Ataxia Foundation and the American Society for Neurochemistry for her efforts.

Fiona Hutton
Julie Buckner
Red Gate Communications