Ira B. Black, New Jersey neuroscientist, stem cell pioneer, and founding director of the first publicly-funded stem cell institute, died unexpectedly on January 10 at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He was 64.?He leaves very big shoes to fill,? Wise Young, co-founding director of the Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey, told The Scientist.Best known for demonstrating how certain adult bone marrow stem cells can develop into transplantable neurons, the Princeton, N.J. resident acted as chairman of the neuroscience and cell biology department at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School since 1990. Black was appointed as the first director of the Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey, established in May 2004 by UMDNJ and Rutgers University, after New Jersey became the second state to pass laws supporting stem cell research.Black had a long-standing interest...

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