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Human Stem Cell Research

November 9, 2010, Volume 57, No. 11

To the Penn Community:
There are tremendous opportunities for expanding knowledge through research involving human stem cells, including, but not limited to, human embryonic stem cell research. However, there are scientific, ethical, legal and compliance considerations when Penn researchers obtain or use certain types of human stem cells as part of their research activities. These include but are not limited to: compliance with President Obama’s recent executive orders and NIH guidelines regarding the conduct of federally funded research using certain types of human stem cells; the ongoing court case regarding the NIH guidelines; and other federal and state laws. The National Academy of Sciences and the International Society for Stem Cell Research also have issued various recommendations for improved practices.

To assist the Penn community with the important scientific, legal and ethical issues that arise from the use of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) in research, I have formed a Human Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee (hSCRAC).  I am very pleased to announce the members of this committee, and I thank them for their service to the University:

Human Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee

Deborah A. Driscoll (Co-Chair), Professor and Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology (SOM)

Jonathan Moreno (Co-Chair), David and Lyn Silfen University Professor, Professor of Medical Ethics (SOM) and History and Sociology of Science (SAS)

Ralph L. Brinster, Richard King Mellon Professor of Reproductive Physiology (SVM)

John D. Gearhart, James W. Effron University Professor; Director, Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Troy M. Hallman, Director of Animal Welfare, Office of Regulatory Affairs

Yvonne K. Higgins, Executive Director, Human Research Protections, Office of Regulatory Affairs

Katherine A. High, William H. Bennett Professor of Pediatrics (SOM); Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Andrew B. Maksymowych, Associate Director, Biological Safety Programs and Institutional Biological Safety Officer, Office of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety

Ellen Purpus, Director, Office of Technology Transfer (CHOP)

Kerry E. Wilson, Associate Director, Corporate Contracts, Office of Research Services

Robert F. Firestone, Associate General Counsel, Office of the General Counsel, ex officio

Madeline M. (Lynn) Alexander, Regulatory Compliance Officer, Office of the Vice Provost for Research, Administrative Support to the Committee

We will shortly release guidelines for the Penn community on the role of the committee and on obtaining and registering certain types of human stem cells for teaching or research purposes. In addition, my office—working with the committee, ISC, ORS, and OGC—will establish and maintain an online registry of the hESCs obtained or being used by Penn personnel. Lynn Alexander, regulatory compliance officer in my office, will serve as Penn’s Human Stem Cell Administrator for any questions regarding the use or derivation of certain types of human stem cells. You can reach her directly at (215) 573-2874 or mmga@upenn.edu. As a reminder, if you want to obtain hESCs for work on campus, please continue to request the cells through an incoming material transfer agreement, working through the Office of Research Services.

—Steven J. Fluharty, Senior Vice Provost for Research


Almanac - November 9, 2010, Volume 57, No. 11