CIRM Leadership

CIRM Leadership

Alan Trounson, President

Alan Trounson, CIRM president

Alan Trounson, Ph.D., is President of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine in San Francisco, California. Prior to joining CIRM in January 2008, Trounson was Professor of Stem Cell Sciences and Director of the Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories at Monash University, where he retains the title of Emeritus Professor. Dr. Trounson founded the National Biotechnology Centre of Excellence – ‘Australian Stem Cell Centre’.

Trounson held various positions at Monash University beginning in 1977 and was appointed Director of the Centre for Early Human Development in 1985. He was awarded a Personal Chair in Obstetrics and Gynaecology/Paediatrics in 1991, and in 2003 was awarded a Personal Chair as Professor of Stem Cell Sciences. A Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and an Honorary Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Trounson was awarded an honorary doctorate by the faculty of medicine at the University of Brussels.

He has been a pioneer of human in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and associated reproductive technologies; the diagnosis of inherited genetic disease in pre-implantation embryos; the discovery and production of human embryonic stem cells and of their ability to be directed into neurones, prostate tissue and respiratory tissue.

Jonathan Thomas, Chairman, Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee

Jonathan Thomas CIRM Chair

Jon Thomas is a Co-Founding Partner at Saybrook Capital (“Saybrook”), an investment banking and private equity firm based in Santa Monica, California.

Long interested in the biological sciences, Thomas majored in Biology and History at Yale, where he graduated summa cum laude. As a George C. Marshall Scholar at Oxford, he then earned a PhD with a medical focus in Commonwealth History. He subsequently returned to Yale for a JD at the Yale Law School. While there, Thomas retained an involvement with biology by teaching courses on the legal implications of genetic engineering and the impact of disease on history.

Thomas has a long-standing commitment to patient advocacy. He spent more than 15 years on the Board of the Crippled Children’s Society of Southern California and served as chair for four years. The organization, now called AbilityFirst, assists children with spinal cord injuries and mental disabilities that could be targets of stem cell therapies. Thomas currently serves as a member of the AbilityFirst Board.

See his full bio here

Ellen Feigal, Senior Vice President, Research and Development

Ellen Feigal, CIRM Sr. VP of R&D

Dr. Ellen G. Feigal is the Senior Vice President, Research and Development at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). Prior to joining CIRM in January, 2011, Dr. Feigal was Executive Medical Director, Global Development, at Amgen, where her primary focus was in clinical development of therapeutics in hematology/oncology. She also led the scientific/clinical interface with patient advocacy organizations, formalized the company’s policy on expanded access to therapies for those with limited or no treatment options, and led the cross-functional teams to the company’s first collaborative research and development agreement with the National Cancer Institute. From 2007 until joining CIRM, Dr. Feigal was adjunct professor and founding Director of the American Course on Drug Development and Regulatory Sciences, UC San Francisco, School of Pharmacy. The course, developed under her leadership as a collaborative effort with the FDA, UCSF’s Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, its Center for Drug Development Sciences and the European Center of Pharmaceutical Medicine at the University of Basel, was launched in 2007. It is taught in Washington, D.C. with a separate parallel course in San Francisco.

Prior to joining Amgen in 2008, she worked in clinical research and drug development in positions at the Federal Government, non-profit and for-profit institutes and companies. She was Chief Medical Officer, Insys Therapeutics 2007-2008, Director of Medical Devices and Imaging at the Critical Path Institute, and Vice President of Clinical Sciences and Deputy Scientific Director at the Translational Genomics Research Institute from 2004 to 2007. She directed the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis from 2001 to 2004, served as Deputy Director from 1997 through 2001, and as senior investigator in the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, NCI from 1992-1997. Dr. Feigal earned a BS in biology and a MS in molecular biology and biochemistry from the UC Irvine, and her MD from the UC Davis. She completed her residency in internal medicine at Stanford University, and her fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UC San Francisco. She was on the faculty at the UC San Francisco, and UC San Diego before joining the NCI.

Senator Art Torres (Ret.), Vice-Chair

Art Torres, CIRM co-vice chair

Senator Art Torres (Ret.) was unanimously elected statutory Vice Chair of the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee, the governing Board of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). He is a colon cancer survivor and serves on the Board as a patient advocate.

Between 1996 and 2009, Torres served as the Chair of the California Democratic Party. He previously served twenty years in the California Legislature, eight as a member of the State Assembly and twelve as a State Senator. Torres chaired the Senate Insurance Committee, Senate Toxics Committee, the Assembly Health Committee, and the Senate Joint Committee on Science and Technology.

A longtime leader on health issues, Senator Torres co-authored the California Clean Water Drinking Act, Proposition 65, and created the sole toxic reporting repository that helps scientists determine environmental and health impacts “a data source that really no one else has on the planet.” On November 18th, 2011 he was sworn in by then Mayor Gavin Newsom, to a four year term on San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission.

He is currently on the Board of "One Legacy," an organ transplant foundation in Los Angeles, and the Latino Community Foundation of the Bay Area.

Senator Torres holds a Bachelor's Degree from UC Santa Cruz and a Juris Doctorate degree from UC Davis School of Law. He also served as a John F. Kennedy teaching fellow at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

See his full bio here

Elona Baum, General Counsel and VP of Business Development

Elona Baum

Elona Baum is the General Counsel and Vice President of Business Development for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). She is an experienced attorney with more than 20 years of practice, mostly in the life sciences and drug development field. As a member of CIRM’s executive team, Ms. Baum is responsible for the strategic initiatives of the agency, as well as overall management of the legal function.

Prior to joining CIRM, Ms. Baum held the positions of Associate General Counsel and later Director of Regulatory Policy and Strategy at Genentech, Inc. (1996 to 2009). Prior to Genentech, she practiced law at private firms. Ms. Baum received her BA in Economics from the University of California and her JD from the University of San Francisco School of Law. She served as an extern for Justice John A. Arguelles, California Supreme Court.

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