2015 Stem Cell Action Awards

World Stem Cell Summit Gala Honors Five Trailblazers

ATLANTA, Dec. 11, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Genetics Policy Institute (GPI) and Regenerative Medicine Foundation (RMF) honored five distinguished leaders last night as the 2015 Stem Cell Action Awards recipients. The honorees were recognized at a gala dinner sponsored by Americans for Cures Foundation on Thursday, December 10th during the 11th annual World Stem Cell Summit at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, Georgia.

For 11 years, GPI has honored the stem cell and regenerative medicine community's top innovators, leaders, and champions. This year's Stem Cell Action Award Honorees include a courageous scientist, dedicated science publisher, a bioengineering leader and impactful patient advocacy organizations and inspiring advocates.

"The honorees are trailblazers in their respective fields," said Bernard Siegel, Founder of the World Stem Cell Summit & RegMed Capital Conference and Executive Director of GPI. "Each of the 2015 Stem Cell Action Award recipients is advancing efforts to end human suffering and find cures. Recognizing their contributions to the fields of stem cell and regenerative medicine is a way to share their innovations and messages of hope."

2015 Stem Cell Action Award Honorees

Leadership Award: Robert M. Nerem, PhD – Bob has a long and distinguished career in engineering for medicine. A giant in the field of cellular and tissue engineering, Bob began at Georgia Tech in 1987 as a Professor and Parker H. Petit Distinguished Chair for Engineering in Medicine. He is the founder of the Georgia Tech/Emory Center for the Engineering of Living Tissues which has evolved into the Center for Regenerative Engineering and Medicine (REM), a joint collaboration between Emory University, Georgia Tech and The University of Georgia, with a mission to fundamentally transform the treatment of human diseases and injuries through the development and translation of new technologies that enhance the body's ability to heal itself. The integration of engineering technologies, biological discoveries, and clinical expertise and infrastructure will establish Georgia as a national leader in regenerative clinical therapies.

Education Award: Ann Murphy, PhD – Ann co-founded AlphaMed Press in 1983 and launched STEM CELLS, the first journal devoted entirely to the subject. With offices in Durham, NC, San Francisco, CA, and Belfast, NI, Ann publishes and is the managing editor of two other international peer-reviewed journals with globally recognized editorial boards dedicated to advancing research and education in their focused disciplines: The Oncologist and STEM CELLS Translational Medicine (the official journal partner of the Regenerative Medicine Foundation). In 2000, Ann co-founded the Society for Translational Oncology to fill the gap between discovery of new cancer treatments and their global translation into oncology practice. The Oncologist is its official journal.

Advocacy Award: Tory Williams & the Alabama Institute of Medicine – Tory Williams co-founded the nonprofit Alabama Institute of Medicine (AIM) with Roman Reed. She played a leadership role in the passage of the TJ Atchison Spinal Cord Injury Act, also known as "TJ's Law" which provided over $800,000 in funding for spinal cord injury in Alabama. Even while battling polycystic kidney disease (PKD), Tory found time and strength to author a compelling book, Inevitable Collision- The Inspiring Story That Brought Stem Cell Research to Conservative America.
Advocacy Award: Jeanne Loring, PhD – Jeanne is a Professor and founding Director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute. She is a bold and outspoken advocate, educator and gifted scientist. Her research team studies genomics and epigenomics of hESCs and iPSCs. As part of the "Frozen Zoo" project her lab generated the first reprogrammed cells from endangered species. Her translational projects include stem cell applications for Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, autism, Alzheimer disease, and addiction. Under her guidance, her lab is creating collections of cell lines for disease modeling and ethnicity-associated drug toxicity studies. Jeanne is also involved in the societal issues associated with stem cell research, including the ethics of stem cell generation and clinical use, the legal implications of stem cell patents, and educating the public about the dangers of unregulated stem cell treatments. She has served on the ethics boards of Merck KGaA and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and is a long-standing member of the GPI Science Advisory Board.
Inspiration Award: CURE CP – Cerebral palsy (CP) is a broad term used to describe a group of chronic "palsies" — disorders that impair control of movement due to damage to the developing brain. CP is one of the most common causes of chronic childhood disability, affecting 1 in 323 children (second only to autism). Cure CP, a nonprofit organization, undertakes and supports initiatives at leading American research institutions developing therapeutic methodologies for the treatment of CP. Through passionate grassroots advocacy and fundraising, Cure CP undertakes and supports forward-thinking research, including current and ongoing clinical trials at Duke University School of Medicine and UTHealth. Founded by two Atlanta-based families with children affected by CP, Cure CP and its dedicated volunteers seek a better life and future for children and adults with cerebral palsy.

The recently merged, Genetics Policy Institute/Regenerative Medicine Foundation, is a 501c3 nonprofit public interest organization, with the mission to promote public awareness, societal support and public policy initiatives for the fields of regenerative medicine, stem cell research and other advanced therapies, thereby accelerating their application in medicine for the purpose of delivering cures. We pursue this mission through production of our flagship annual World Stem Cell Summit & RegMed Capital Conference, publication of the annual World Stem Cell Report and newsletters, Stem Cell Action Awards, the Stem Cell Action Coalition, social media campaigns, special projects, speaking engagements, teaching initiatives and strategic collaborations. Learn more at http://www.genpol.org.
The 11th Annual World Stem Cell Summit & RegMed Capital Conference, the flagship meeting of the international stem cell community, is organized by the Genetics Policy Institute. The Summit (WSCS15) is organized by Genetics Policy Institute/Regenerative Medicine Foundation, The Georgia Center for Regenerative Engineering & Medicine (Emory University, Georgia Tech, University of Georgia), Mayo Clinic, Kyoto University Institute for Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS), BioBridge Global, Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and The New York Stem Cell Foundation. The goal of the Summit is to accelerate the discovery and development of lifesaving cures and therapies, bringing global stakeholders together to solve global challenges. The Summit forges collaborations to advance cell therapies, while creating a supportive environment of regulation, legislation, financing, reimbursement and patient advocacy. Learn more at www.WorldStemCellSummit.com. Follow @WSCSummit on Twitter.


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