The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), invited researchers who receive funding from the state's stem cell agency to participate in their elevator speech contest during CIRM's recent grantee meeting held in San Francisco, March 6-8. Participants were challenged to demonstrate their ability to communicate the importance of their often complex research clearly and effectively to the public in simple and lay language through a short, (roughly 30 second) video pitch. 57 videos representing 18 California academic and research institutions were filmed for the challenge.

UCLA graduate student, Jonathan Lam who conducts research in the laboratory of Dr. Tatiana Segura (Assistant Professor, UCLA Chemical & Biochemical Engineering Department) won first place in the non-lead scientist category for his elevator pitch describing his research focus of developing a therapy to promote wound healing in the brain after a stroke.

Four other UCLA curated videos received honorable mentions:

Lead scientists
Carrie Micelli/Stanley Nelson ("love their commitment")

Non-lead scientists
Joseph Hargan Calvopiña ("great job explaining a complex topic")
Andrew Goldstein ("long, but good description")
William Kim ("very clear and enthusiastic")

On what prompted the elevator speech challenge, CIRM acknowledged, "After all, we are a publicly funded agency and the money we use to fund research comes from the people of California, so it’s only reasonable to expect researchers to be able to explain the importance of what they do to Californians, and anyone else they might meet."

Media Contact: 

Mirabai Vogt-James
(310) 983-1163