Michael J. Fox visited the Waisman Center on Tuesday, February 1 to tour the stem cell research laboratories of Clive Svendsen and Su-Chun Zhang, as well as other components of the center’s translational research tower, including the Waisman Clinical BioManufacturing Facility and the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior. Fox was accompanied by Wisconsin Governor James Doyle.
Following the tour, Fox joined a luncheon discussion with the governor, center director Marsha Mailick Seltzer, the center’s stem cell scientists, along with UW stem cell scientist Jamie Thomson. Also at lunch were Carl Gulbrandsen, managing director of Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Rhonda Norsetter, senior special assistant to the chancellor, and director, federal relations, and the leadership of the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Fox’s visit to the Waisman Center culminated with a press conference, which was covered by many media representatives. When asked what most impressed him about his visit to the Waisman Center, Fox mentioned that he had seen stem cells under a microscope for the first time. He also cited the intelligence and talents of the many young scientists he had met that morning. Commenting that he was at the Waisman Center to kick the tires, Fox was clearly impressed. This is where we have pinned a lot of our hopes and goals, he said. Fox referred to Wisconsin as the “gold standard” in stem cell research. His visit to Wisconsin ended with a reception at the governor’s residence.
To date, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has awarded the Waisman Center four grants worth $1.2 million dollars. Fox, who is an advocate for stem cell research, has Parkinson’s disease.