by Steven Ertelt
February 28, 2005
Sacramento, CA (LifeNews.com) — The associate dean of medical research at the University of Southern California’s medical school has been selected to become the head of California’s stem cell research panel. The new committee is charged with the task of doling out $6 billion in taxpayer funds for embryonic stem cell research and human cloning.
Zach Hall, a veteran neuroscientist, was recommended by a California Institute for Regenerative Medicine subcommittee. The full panel is expected to approve his selection tomorrow.
Hall would take over the interim president position from Robert Klein, the real estate magnate who is drawing criticism for his role in the stem cell agency. Klein will stay on as the chairman of the committee.
Hall was director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes at the National Institutes of Health from 1994-1997, according to an Associated Press report.
However, his tenure could be short since the committee has hired a headhunting firm to find a full time president by June. The first stem cell research grants are expected to be awarded in May.
Proposition 71, approved by California voters with 59 percent of the vote, created the stem cell agency. Since then it has come under fire for violating state open meetings laws and numerous conflicts of interests.
Two taxpayer’s groups and a disability advocate have filed lawsuits seeking to overturn the creation of the agency.