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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Friday, August 10, 2007

Stem cell scientist never planned to leave, Harvard says

kevin eggan85.bmpHarvard Stem Cell Institute scientist Kevin C. Eggan (left) has no plans to move to a Kansas City, Mo., research center, a Harvard spokesman said today, despite a report in today's New York Times saying he has delayed leaving because of political opposition in Missouri to working with embryonic stem cells.

Eggan, whose Harvard lab is supported by the same Kansas City donors that built the Missouri research center, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment, but a Harvard Stem Cell Institute spokesman said Eggan isn't going anywhere.

"There are not and there have not been any plans for Kevin Eggan to leave the Harvard Stem Cell Institute," B.D. Colen said in an interview. "He was making a general comment about anyone who was considering going to Missouri to do stem cell research."

The Times quoted Eggan in a front-page story about political and financial roadblocks to a $300 million expansion of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, funded by Kansas City philanthropists Jim and Virginia Stowers. Even though Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment in November that allows embryonic stem cell research, many new bills to limit research have been proposed in the state legislature, stalling the recruitment of scientists, the story said.

Eggan is a founding member and assistant investigator of the separate Stowers Medical Institute based in Cambridge, which supports researchers in an arrangement that follows the Howard Hughes Medical Institute model of funding scientists' work at their home institutions. Stowers is providing $5.9 million over five years to Eggan's lab, according to a 2005 Harvard statement.

The Stowers Medical Institute also supports Chad Cowan at the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

Jim Stowers said in 2005 that he and his wife were supporting research at Harvard rather than in Missouri because of fears that the Missouri legislature would ban stem cell research, according to that Harvard statement.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 01:46 PM
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