San Diegan joins state stem cell agency

David Higgins of San Diego, a biotech veteran and an advocate for people with Parkinson's disease, has joined the governing board of California's stem cell agency.

Higgins, who has Parkinson's himself, replaces Joan Samuelson on the Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee that governs the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The institute is distributing a total of $3 billion in state bond money in a years-long bid to turn stem cell research into therapies.

Higgins' appointment was announced this week. He was chosen by state Controller John Chiang to take the patient advocate position for Parkinson's disease. Higgins is president of the board for the Parkinson's Association of San Diego.

David Higgins / Parkinson's Association of San Diego

He holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology and genetics from the University of Rochester, and has worked at the biotech companies Invitrogen, Chiron and Idun Pharmaceuticals. Higgins now serves as an adviser to iDiverse, a gene technology company in Del Mar.

In addition, he's a board member for the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology.

And he serves as the San Diego representative for the Parkinson's Action Network, which lobbies elected officials on policies regarding Parkinson's research and treatment.

Higgins is a good choice for the stem cell agency's board not only because of his scientific and medical expertise, but also his personal qualities, said Jerry Henberger, executive director of the local Parkinson's association.

"He's patient, thoughtful, extremely intelligent and a great leader," Henberger said. "We're excited about Parkinson's getting a voice. We know he'll do a great job."

Joe Panetta, a member of the Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee, welcomed Higgins to the board. Panetta is president and chief executive of Biocom, the San Diego-based life science trade group.

Continue reading here:
San Diegan joins state stem cell agency

Related Post