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OCASCR honors founding scientific director, new director is named

In December, Dr. Paul Kincade, Ph.D., retired from his post as founding scientific director for the Oklahoma Center for Adult Stem Cell Research (OCASCR), capping a distinguished career as a stem cell biologist that spanned more than five decades.

Kincade’s work helped establish a connection between chronic infections, stem cells and aging, and he made important insights on how the body replenishes its immune system.

In 2010, Kincade helped TSET launch OCASCR, with the mission of promoting research with adult stem cells in Oklahoma.

Since its launch, OCASCR has grown exponentially, funding more than 50 in-state researchers working on a wide range of stem cell studies. Kincade helped turn an investment of just over $21 million from TSET into nearly $98 million in additional grants supporting projects launched through this initiative.

“I’ve always believed in the promise of stem cell research, and I can’t recall a more exciting time for it,” said Kincade. “Our goal when we set out was to get Oklahoma scientists to start thinking about and working in this emerging area. I think we’ve succeeded, and I’m proud of that.”

This year, OCASCR named Courtney Griffin, Ph.D. its new scientific director. Griffin is also a scientist at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. OCASCR will expand its mission to include regenerative medicine, where scientists combine stem cell and developmental biology research into discovering new ways of repairing, replacing or rejuvenating disease-damaged organs in the body.

 “Dr. Kincade is an outstanding scientist and ambassador for the vision of OCASCR,” said Griffin. “He really got people excited and to pay attention to stem cell research in Oklahoma. He made OCASCR what it is today, and I want to continue with this remarkable template.”