Investor Connect Podcast

In this episode, Hall welcomes Dr. Maria T. Millan, President and CEO of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

CIRM is California's stem cell agency. Its mission is to accelerate stem cell treatments to patients with unmet medical needs by funding promising research in California.

California's Stem Cell Agency was created in 2004 when 59% of California voters approved Proposition 71: the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative. That initiative created the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to fund stem cell research in the state. In addition to creating the agency, Prop 71 created a 29-member governing Board composed of researchers, business leaders, and patient advocates.

CIRM realized that if the goal was to generate new therapies, the first steps would need to be getting scientists into stem cell research, giving them space to work and ensuring that young people were entering the field. That’s why the first awards were dedicated to training young scientists, building new facilities, and pulling California researchers into stem cell science. The agency has also funded research and new facilities and has trained high school, undergraduate, and graduate students for careers in stem cell science.

Some therapies that may come out of CIRM-funded research projects involve transplanting the cells themselves. Others will be drugs that were discovered through modeling diseases in a petri dish. Still, others will be diagnostics that allow doctors to diagnose and treat diseases more effectively—or through technologies that open up whole new fields of research. CIRM funding promotes all areas of stem cell research that show promise to accelerating treatments to patients in need.

Dr. Maria Millan is a physician-scientist who has devoted her career to treating and developing innovative solutions for children and adults with debilitating and life-threatening conditions. 

After receiving her undergraduate degree from Duke University where she first entered the arena of immunology research, she returned to her home in New Jersey where she obtained her M.D. and then went on to complete her surgical training and post-doctoral research in Boston at Harvard Medical School – Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  After a transplant surgery fellowship at Stanford University School of Medicine, she began her academic career with a busy pediatric and adult transplant surgery practice focused on technical advancements and optimization of patient outcomes, including the treatment of rare fatal diseases. 

Please click here to read her full bio.

Dr. Millan tells Hall what excites her in the field of stem cell biology. She advises investors and startups and explains how she sees the industry evolving. She also shares information regarding stem cell research and COVID-19.

You can visit CIRM at, and via their LinkedIn page at

Dr. Millan can be contacted via LinkedIn at, and via email at   

Direct download: Maria_Millan_of_The_California_Institute_for_Regenerative_Medicine.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:11am CDT

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

There are several types of board members. 

Each provides a contribution to the board dynamic.

Here are the types you may see in your board room:

  • The Cheerleader. Always optimistic and sees the upside to every proposal or situation.
  • The Pessimist. Always pessimistic and sees the backside to every proposal and situation. 
  • The Analyst. Always analyzing the situation and commenting on the implications.
  • The Skeptic. Always questioning the data and the implications of proposed solutions.

If you have a board that is all cheerleaders, then there may be little scrutiny given to plans.

If you have a board that is all pessimists, then no solution will ever be good enough.

If you have a board that is all analysts, then there will be no decisions taken.

If you have a board that is all skeptics, then there will be no progress.

A healthy mix of all of the above is desired.

Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.

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Direct download: Startup_Funding_Espresso_--_The_Board_Types.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am CDT