We received a contribution in honor of Sheryl Lee Osbourne, what follows is a tribute to her amazing legacy
“Basically, I was compelled by curiosity.” –Mary Leakey
Humanity is pushed forward by those whose minds see beyond, who invest their acuity and energy in that which propels us all forward, and the more complicated and adventurous the challenge, the better. For over 35 years, Sheryl Lee Osborne pioneered developments in the biomedical infrastructure of gene therapy, and stem cell and translational medicine.
Sheryl had a brilliant mind that could quickly grasp and process the complexities of the array of scientific and social issues she encountered and deftly design workable approaches and solutions to resolve them. Sheryl, a graduate of UCLA, began her career in the lab there and at the now LA BioMed at the Harbor UCLA Medical Center, before making the professional move to translational biomedical research and development at a number of young and start-up biotech and pharmaceutical companies in California. Seeking new opportunities and challenges, she moved into regulatory affairs and found her niche. She was instrumental in designing production facilities and moving a number of early cutting-edge gene therapy projects through the NIH RAC and FDA for young biotech companies such as Viagene. She relocated to Vancouver to work with fledgling Angiotech move their new stent through the regulatory process. After a few years, she returned to Southern California as a recognized expert in regulatory affairs working again with a number of biotech startups. Sheryl decided to move to a more independent position as a consultant for academic scientists with promising therapies to provide expert guidance with the complex journey through the regulatory process. Her last projects focused in stem cell research and was instrumental in early studies funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CRIM) and in the area of ALS (Lou Gehrigs disease).
Sheryl’s success in regulatory affairs enabled her to travel the world and find new passions in endangered animals, and health care in third world counties. Her charitable and professional goals both diverged and intertwined, and a diverse group of charities and biomedical institutions were uplifted by her direct intervention and attention. Using her unique abilities to navigate bureaucratic red tape, she was involved in efforts in Indonesia to conserve the orangutan, Sumatran tiger, and elephant. Some of these efforts occurred at the local level with conservation efforts linked to medical care, especially maternal/child health.
Sheryl was also an active supporter of efforts in San Diego, particularly with Rady Children’s Hospital, the San Diego Zoo, and was also involved in Good Dog! Autism Companions.
Thank you to Sheryl’s friends for donating to the March for Science San Diego in her memory