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BioRegion Newsmakers: Jul 6, 2009


André Choulika, the CEO of the Cellectis Group, has been elected chairman of France Biotech, by its newly elected administrative council. Choulika succeeds Philippe Pouletty, who had served four terms as chair of the French association for life science entrepreneurs since 2001. Pouletty, who did not seek re-election, will become an honorary chairman of the organization.

Choulika founded Cellectis, a genome engineering company, in 2000, and took the company public on Alternext at NYSE Euronext seven years later. Previously he was a researcher at the Pasteur Institute.

Pouletty is a founding partner of Truffle Capital, a French venture capital company specializing in high-tech start-ups and spin-outs, and serves as its managing partner for life science investments. He is a former vice president of Europabio, the European bioindustry federation, and a former member of France's Council for Economic Attractiveness, chaired by Prime Minister Francois Fillon.

Achieve Adds Battelle Memorial Institute CEO Jeffrey Wadsworth to Board of Directors

Jeffrey Wadsworth, president and CEO of Battelle Memorial Institute, has joined the board of directors of Achieve, a nonprofit group that promotes higher academic standards nationwide.

Wadsworth joined Battelle in 2002, and soon after served as a member of the White House Transition Planning Office for the US Department of Homeland Security. From 2003 to June 2007, Wadsworth was director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and later returned to Battelle as executive vice president for Battelle’s global laboratory operations business before taking his current job.

Before joining Battelle, Wadsworth held positions at Stanford University, Lockheed Martin,and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He has been awarded three honorary doctorates, two honorary professorships from Chinese universities and the rank of fellow in three technical societies. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2005.

Ex-Chief Scientific Officer: Lack of Respect Prompted Resignation from CIRM

Marie Csete told Nature last week that a lack of respect from officials of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine prompted her resignation as chief scientific officer of the state stem cell agency [BRN, June 26].

"When it became clear to me that my considered clinical advice was not respected, I concluded that it made no sense for me to stay at CIRM," Csete told the journal.

Csete also told Nature that when she joined CIRM, she left not only her lab at Emory University in Atlanta, but her marriage to then-husband and California Institute of Technology professor John Doyle. The divorce helped her to avoid contravening state conflict-of-interest laws since CIT was among academic institutions likely to seek research funding through CIRM, she said, adding: "We were willing to sacrifice a lot for me to be in a position to make a positive impact at CIRM. I wanted to see it to the end."

"I had tried everything I could to change what I think needed to change from the inside, and that was not going to happen," she told the journal. "I felt I would have more impact by stepping away and advising the leadership of the board on my way out about ways to revise the structure and management of the agency to make it more optimal."

CIRM spokesman Don Gibbons told the California Stem Cell Report that Csete had neither a contract nor severance from her $310,000-a-year job.

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.