Marie Csete Resigns as CIRM Chief Scientific Officer, 15 Months Into the Job

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Marie Csete will resign Aug. 1 as the chief scientific officer of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine after 15 months in the $310,000-a-year post, Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit group that monitors developments at the state stem cell agency, reported on Wednesday.

"I am sorry and disappointed that I was unable to say goodbye to you
at the last [Independent Citizens Oversight Committee] meeting. I look
forward to seeing your many successes!" Csete wrote in a note to
members of the ICOC, which is CIRM’s governing board, in a note
published by Consumer Watchdog.

John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s stem
cell project, said on its blog that Csete’s departure "after such a
short tenure — and with no clear indication of where she is headed next
— speaks volumes about CIRM’s management. Or should I say,

CIRM President Alan Trounson issued his own note to agency staffers citing Csete’s "highly valuable contributions to our science operations” that included overseeing grants and organizing unspecified workshops "that have invigorated our scientific discourse and changed the direction of many of our programs.

"She has been a highly respected representative of CIRM at countless
meetings nationally and internationally. I think you all would agree
that our mission has been advanced by her efforts. Please join me in
thanking her and wishing her luck going forward,” Trounson wrote.

A successor has yet to be named.

Csete’s possible departure had been rumored for at least a month or more, according to the California Stem Cell Report:
"According to those we talked to, she was reportedly dissatisfied with
CIRM’s management and possibly with the reception afforded her
scientific advice."

Csete joined CIRM as chief scientific officer early last year [BRN, March 17, 2008],
in an expansion of her role with the agency; since 2005, Csete had been
a member of the CIRM Scientific and Medical Research Funding Working

Before joining CIRM full-time, Csete was John E. Steinhaus professor
of anesthesiology at Emory University, with an adjunct appointment in
cell biology, and program faculty appointments in biochemistry, cell
and developmental biology, neurosciences, and the joint biomedical
engineering program of Emory and Georgia Tech. She also served as
director of Liver Transplant Anesthesiology at the Emory University
Hospital in Atlanta, director of the Emory/Georgia Tech Human Embryonic
Stem Cell Core, and co-director of Emory’s MD/PhD program.

Csete graduated from Princeton University with a degree in music,
and received a PhD from California Institute of Technology, where her
work focused on the role of physiologic gases in stem cell fate. She
received her MD degree from Columbia University’s College of Physicians
& Surgeons. After residency and fellowship training at the
Massachusetts General Hospital and St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Boston,
she was assistant professor in residence at the University of
California, San Francisco, where she directed the liver transplant
anesthesiology team.

Consumer Watchdog
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