Nancy Witty to Retire as ISSCR CEO

  • 12 April, 2021
Nancy Witty

Board Names Keith Alm, ISSCR COO as Successor

Skokie, IL— The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) announced today that Nancy Witty will retire as Chief Executive Officer effective 30 June 2021. Keith Alm, current ISSCR Chief Operating Officer will succeed her.

Witty led the ISSCR for more than 16 years – taking the organization from its earliest years through independent management. Under her leadership, the ISSCR became an internationally trusted and influential organization that today assembles thousands of scientists, from more than 60 countries, to advance the field of stem cell research and regenerative medicine in an ethically responsible way.

“Nancy has made so many contributions to the ISSCR, too many to enumerate,” said Christine Mummery, PhD, ISSCR President. “She established such strong foundations for the Society that it will continue to succeed for many years to come.”

Many new ISSCR initiatives benefitted from Witty’s thoughtful management. Witty’s team shepherded the release of Guidelines for Stem Cell Research and Clinical Translation and championed the creation of a public policy program to represent the interests of stem cell researchers worldwide. She led the development of the ISSCR’s International Symposia meetings program, initiated the Society’s scientific journal, and convened leaders for a global event that later evolved into the Nucleus Forum, focused on treatments for intractable disease.

“I have enjoyed most the people I’ve met, the places I’ve traveled, and the big ideas we’ve uncovered. But what I am most proud of, is to leave a legacy that has had such a positive impact on so many people – and one that will ultimately benefit so many more,” said Witty.

“Nancy’s management of the ISSCR has helped the Society establish itself as the preeminent global society for stem cell research,” said Leonard Zon, MD, ISSCR Founder and the Society’s first president. “Nancy has left an indelible mark on our field that fosters interactions for science and is bringing stem cell therapies to the clinic.”

Prior to the ISSCR, Witty held leadership positions at professional societies including the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Medical School, and New York University Medical School’s Child Study Center.

On 1 July 2021, Keith Alm, ISSCR’s COO will become CEO after unanimous selection by the Board of Directors. Alm currently oversees the organization’s integrated marketing, technology, policy, administrative, and financial teams. Prior to joining the ISSCR 2019, Alm served as a consultant and strategic advisor to the Society for more than a decade. He was previously Senior Vice President and Partner with FleishmanHillard, a global public relations and digital marketing firm.

“Keith’s history with the Society working alongside Nancy made him standout as absolutely the best possible choice of CEO to lead the Society in its next chapter,” said Mummery. “On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, we are delighted that Keith will take our Society forward into the bright future ahead for our international community as a whole.”

About the International Society for Stem Cell Research (
With nearly 4,000 members from more than 60 countries, the International Society for Stem Cell Research is the preeminent global, cross-disciplinary, science-based organization dedicated to stem cell research and its translation to the clinic. The ISSCR mission is to promote excellence in stem cell science and applications to human health. Additional information about stem cell science is available at A Closer Look at Stem Cells, an initiative of the Society to inform the public about stem cell research and its potential to improve human health.