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
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.