Stem cell research pioneer leaves Hopkins for University of Maryland

December 17, 2008|By Frank Roylance and Stephen Kiehl | Frank Roylance and Stephen Kiehl and, and

Stem cell research pioneer Dr. Curt I. Civin has been named to lead the new Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The move ends Civin's 30-year career at the Johns Hopkins University's medical school. He takes with him 15 of his postdoctoral fellows and $21.5 million in research funding.

Civin's work at Hopkins led in 1984 to the discovery of a key technology for isolating stem cells from other blood cells, critical for study and transplantation into patients. He also made discoveries in the use of stem cells to treat leukemia and clarified how stem cells can become cancerous.

"I want this new center and its work to have a global impact," he said in a news release. "I look forward to collaborating with colleagues at Johns Hopkins and at other prestigious Maryland institutions ... as well as other scientists around the globe."

Civin will also accept a teaching post in the UM Department of Pediatrics and serve as an associate dean of the medical school.

"I was so impressed by the recruitments the [UM] School of Medicine has made in recent years," he said, naming Dr. Robert Gallo at the Institute of Human Virology and Dr. Claire Fraser-Liggett at the UM Institute for Genome Sciences. "I was encouraged by how happy these people were, and by the collaborative culture the school maintains."

William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the state university system, said Civin "adds even further luster to an already distinguished faculty."

It also keeps a top scientist in the state. Hopkins has lost several pre-eminent stem cell researchers lately. Dr. John D. Gearhart left for the University of Pennsylvania this year, and Dr. Peter Donovan went to the University of California, Irvine in 2006.

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