26 June, 2019 - The ISSCR today honored longtime member Lawrence Goldstein for his years of science policy advocacy, and announced a new program in his name that will train ISSCR members to become stem cell policy advocates. The tribute and introduction of the Lawrence Goldstein Science Policy Fellowship program was part of the opening plenary session of the ISSCR annual meeting, 26-29 in Los Angeles, Calif., U.S.
“The society has long appreciated Larry’s willingness to speak out in support of stem cell research and regenerative medicine, even in challenging social and political times,” said ISSCR president Douglas Melton, noting the many times Dr. Goldstein has spoken to policy makers when others have been reluctant. “Larry has made a significant impact on the field and changed many hearts and minds. He exemplifies for scientists the important role our voices play in public debate, in ensuring that scientific evidence and facts are at the heart of any conversation about stem cells and their translation to medicine.”
For the last 25 years, Dr. Goldstein has been a faculty member and directed a biomedical research laboratory at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. He also founded and directed the UCSD Stem Cell Program and the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center and is founding scientific director of the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. Goldstein co-chaired the scientific advisory board for California’s Proposition 71 that established three billion dollars for stem cell medical research in the state. He served on the ISSCR Board of Directors, the Task Force on Unproven Stem Cell Therapies, and Task Force on Guidelines for the Conduct of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research; he has been a member of the Public Policy and Ethics Committees. Throughout his career, Goldstein has advocated for science before local, state, and national policy makers on issues such as decisions about funding levels, and guidelines and ethical standards for research using stem cells, fetal tissue, and other issues. Goldstein’s lab focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in movement inside neurons and how these systems are affected in Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s Diseases.
“I have always believed in the importance of scientists contributing to public service, and for me a significant portion of that work is explaining the value of science to government officials and the public,” said Goldstein. “As professional scientists, we have an obligation to use our expertise to rebut inaccurate claims and bring our knowledge and experience to debates about science and research, especially where discussions are not strictly about scientific and medical value.”
The Lawrence Goldstein Science Policy Fellowship will begin accepting applications in June 2019, immediately following the annual meeting. Applications will be reviewed by the ISSCR Public Policy Committee, and 3 applicants will be chosen each year to be fellows and serve as ex-officio members of the committee for 3 years. Fellows will gain hands-on experience by:
- Attending the ISSCR Washington D.C. Advocacy Day or a policy meeting in another region of the world;
- Participating in regularly scheduled Committee calls and in-person meetings at the ISSCR annual meeting;
- Assisting the Committee with projects and programs as assigned; and
- Working actively with Committee members on policy messaging and communications.
Information about submitting an application for the program is available on the ISSCR.org website. Applications should be received by 26 July, 2019 to be considered in the first round of review.
“We’re honoring Larry Goldstein today with a gift that follows and builds on his legacy to support and defend stem cell science,” said Melton. “We look forward to helping identify and train the next generations of stem cell policy and regulatory advocates, growing and expanding the reach of our efforts in support of stem cell science and its responsible translation to medicine around the world.”
More information about the ISSCR policy and advocacy program is available at ISSCR.org.