Commission appoints next Executive Director of the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund

COLUMBIA, Md. (May 10, 2021)—The Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission has approved funding to its second-round of 2021 recipients for a total of $6,052,901. The Commission has also appointed Amritha Jaishankar, Ph.D., the current MSCRF Director - Programs & Strategic Alliances, to succeed Dan Gincel, Ph.D., as Executive Director of the MSCRF, effective May 14, 2021.

MSCRF Logo“We thank Dr. Gincel for his leadership and many contributions to the MSCRF over the course of his 14 years as Executive Director, during which he consistently challenged us to grow and evolve to meet the needs of the Maryland stem cell community, and we are delighted that Dr. Jaishankar will lead the MSCRF through its next chapter,” said Dr. Debra Mathews, Chair of the Commission. “Dr. Jaishankar’s leadership, dedication, and tremendous work with the MSCRF and our stem cell community over past few years make her the ideal person to take us forward.”Amritha Photo (PR)

“I am thankful to the Commission and to Dr. Gincel for the strong foundations they have established for MSCRF. I have been fortunate to be able to build on them, and I look forward to continuing to grow and shape MSCRF and execute our mission,” said Dr. Amritha Jaishankar. “We remain committed to identifying and supporting research and innovation in the field of regenerative medicine to accelerate cures for devastating diseases and these 22 new awards, addressing a wide range of disease areas, exemplify our purpose and mission.”

The second round of MSCRF awards for the 2021 fiscal year include:

  • 1 Clinical: This award is for Universities/Research Institutes or Companies that wish to conduct human stem cell-based clinical trials in the State of Maryland. Totaling $650,000, the clinical award recipient is Dr. Metin Kurtoglu from Cartesian Therapeutics, Inc.
  • 1 Validation: This award supports faculty at Maryland-based Universities/Research institutes with IP for human stem cell-based technologies that require additional validation. Totaling $229,545, the validation award recipient is Dr. Sheikh Amer Riazuddin from Johns Hopkins University.
  • 5 Launch: These awards are to encourage new and new-to-the-field faculty to bring innovative research and technology to the regenerative medicine field. Totaling $1,718,356, the Launch award recipients are Drs. William Dalton and Pan Li from Johns Hopkins University, Drs. Jie Jiang and Deqiang Li from University of Maryland - Baltimore, and Dr. Younggeon Jin from University of Maryland - College Park.
  • 7 Discovery: These awards fund innovative ideas to develop novel human stem cell-based technologies and cures. Totaling $2,415,000, the discovery award recipients include Drs. Aaron James, Shaun Kunisaki, and Linda Resar from Johns Hopkins University, Drs. Ivy Dick, Ricardo Feldman, and Matthew Trudeau from University of Maryland – Baltimore, and Dr. Xiaoming He from University of Maryland – College Park.
  • 8 Post-Doctoral Fellowship: These awards support exceptional post-doctoral fellows conducting research in Maryland. Totaling $1,040,000, award recipients include Drs. Chelsey Dunham, Joanna Hagen, Ramesh Marasini, Xiaoli Rong, Nanami Senoo, Bo Am Seo, Kunyu Zhang, and Yuxiao Zhou from Johns Hopkins University.

More information about all current MSCRF awardees is available at

About the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission 
The Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission is focused on identifying and fostering cutting-edge research and innovation in the field of regenerative medicine in Maryland. Our Accelerating Cures initiative comprises programs that help transition human stem cell-based technologies from the bench to the bedside as well as mechanisms to build and grow stem cell companies in Maryland. Visit us at to learn more about our funding opportunities.


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