Nature interviews Alan Trounson, the new head of California’s Institute for Regerative Medicine.

CIRM is a state-run institution with a mission to advance research in regenerative medicine, and it will be interesting to see how effective this kind of monolithic non-university institute can be in terms of making real scientific progress. The position of director is a difficult one because of the two-headed leadership approach, where the director and the advisory board chairman share the leadership role, but also because of the tremendously bright spotlight under which the chairman must labor. It’s good to see, then, that Trounson seems to know what he’s getting himself into.

Items of note from the interview are:
He says his primary mission is to push for clinical applications, but later notes that companies have been a little too short-sighted looking for instant cures. This is great because not only does it mean that he’s going to be very interested in MSCs for their ongoing clinical trials, but it also means that the institute won’t be rushing headlong into things without considering the risks. I’ve been saying for some time that more research on immune system interactions is needed, and I’m glad that people in high places are saying that too.

When asked about what he’s learned from working in reproductive medicine in Australia, he says the main thing he learned is , “Be very, very, careful what you say.”

Link to Nature article.