Connecticut Legislature committed 100 million dollars to embryonic stem cell research
History was made in Connecticut this week. Nearly three dozen stem cell scientists were awarded public funds to conduct embryonic stem cell research. This puts Connecticut in a leadership position in stem cell research in the U.S.
In 2005, Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell and the Connecticut Legislature committed 100 million dollars to embryonic stem cell research over a ten year period.
In response, Connecticut scientists were able to apply for funds to support stem cell research not currently fundable by federal dollars.
Senator Don Williams, President Pro Tem of the Connecticut Senate, appointed me to the Connecticut Stem Cell Advisory Committee in June, 2006. The task before this committee was to steer the process of launching Connecticut’s stem cell research efforts.
November 20 and 21, the committee met to allocate 20 million dollars among the 70 applications for funding. The applications had been reviewed and ranked for scientific merit by a group of outside stem cell experts whose scores and comments were anonymously available to the Advisory Committee. The committee meeting was chaired by Dr. Galvin, Connecticut Department of Public Health.
Each application was individually reviewed and evaluated for merit and applicability to Connecticut’s mission in stem cell research. The committee voted to award both junior scientists and senior scientists research funds and as well as millions of dollars to both Yale University and the University of Connecticut in collaboration with Wesleyan to establish core facilities to derive and culture human embryonic stem cells.
It was exciting and encouraging to be part of a state-wide process devoted to embryonic stem cell research. The hope is that a similar process will take place in Massachusetts as quickly as possible.