h+ Magazine

Summer 2009

Issue link: http://cp.revolio.com/i/1161

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Page 19 of 83

AI BIO eNHANCeD NANO NeurO HumOr FOreVer YOuNG 20 summer 2009 eNHANCeD NANO NeurO HumOr FOreVer YOuNG BIO rOGer PeDerSOn, Won't You Please Come Home? moira A. Gunn, Ph.D. A bout fi ve years ago, a cadre of British scientists fl ew into san Francisco for a British Trade Commission event, and the smart gal who organized it asked me if I would consider interviewing them. Our previous interactions had served up such stellar guests as Lord David sainsbury, the British science minister, and sir richard sykes, the rector (we would say "President") of Imperial College London. I thought it wise to simply trust her judgment, and I was rewarded. she showed up with fi ve illustrious biotech guests, one right after another. They included such luminaries as Dame Julia Polak, now emeritus professor of Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine at Imperial and one of Britain's longest surviving heart-lung recipients, and suzy Leather, the head of the HFeA, the Human Fertilisation and embryology Authority. If you haven't heard of HFeA, it "regulate[s] the storage of all eggs, sperm and embryos" in the uK. It's interesting that the Brits control it all down to the strictest detail, while here in the us, it's a genetic free-for-all: somewhere over half a million fertilized embryos are on ice and in private hands, while no one even thinks to count what's laying around in sperm banks. still, it was the last guest through the door that was the shocker: He was an American. In fact, he was from san Francisco. roger Pederson was a stem cell scientist at uCsF, and he had moved to the university of Cambridge for one very simple reason: In 2001, President George W. Bush had put into place an executive Order limiting federal funding to the 22 existing human stem cell lines. To roger, this spelled disaster. He saw the handwriting on the laboratory wall and headed over to england as soon as he could. While they heavily regulate the embryos and such, they actually permit and fund stem cell research. What's this? American scientists leaving the u.s.? With a chuckle, the Brits described it as a "brain gain." The bottom line was that roger was a scientist — one at the top of his fi eld. He had to work. He saw moving to Cambridge as both a great opportunity and the only real solution. I hadn't thought about him since that day… until today. At this writing, it's

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