Borrowing a thematic page from Time magazine and its annual tradition of identifying an individual or idea that has influenced the events during the year, UC Davis stem cell researcher Paul Knoepfler is seeking nominees for what he's dubbed the "Stem Cell Person of the Year" award.
Knoepfler, whose research includes looking into how stem cells are programmed and how that programming can go awry to cause cancer and birth defects, wants to recognize a person who has made an outstanding difference in the field of stem cell-based cellular and regenerative medicine during 2012. The associate professor of cell biology and human anatomy hopes to create a little more excitement about stem cell science and make the recognition rewarding.
"In the past, I've given out various stem cell awards for achievements both good and not so good, but now I'm putting my money where my mouth and blog are by creating a more significant award and attaching some money to it," said Knoepfler, who is well known for blogging about a range of topics, usually related to science and often including a bit of wry humor. "Why give out this award? My goal is to advance the stem cell field and give credit to those who make a real difference."
Knoepfler says nominees can be scientists, patient advocates, individuals from industry, lawyers, or just about anyone who has made the field better.
"For non-scientist nominees, I'm particularly interested in those who took personal risks or gave of themselves to help others," Knoepfler added. "For scientists, I'm looking for outstanding scientific achievement, especially if it includes 'out-of-the-box' thinking."
Anyone is eligible for the new award except members of Knoepfler's lab. Students and postdocs should be nominated by their research mentors. Scientists with more experience are also eligible, and self-nominations will be accepted, too. Nominations should be no more than one page, single-spaced, and must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by Dec. 17 at 11:59 p.m., Pacific Time. More information on the award can be found on the Knoepfler Lab Blog at http://www.ipscell.com.
Knoepfler plans to pick five finalists and interview each of them by phone/Skype. He also plans to have an online vote, which could influence his final decision. The winner will be announced during the first week in January.