KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas Medical Center's adult stem cell research lab is facing major obstacles after the departure of its director and size reductions.

The Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center's former director Buddhadeb Dawn left this summer, The Kansas City Star reported.

Dawn took his research and federal grants to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Reducing the lab's space from 8,200 square feet (760 square meters) to about 3,680 square feet (340 square meters) slowed down research, he said.

"The reduction in laboratory space limits the basic research and early developmental research plans due to the need to segregate certain functions from a regulatory standpoint," Dawn told lawmakers in his annual report in March.

The reduction was to make room for the university's incoming chair of internal medicine, said Kay Hawes, a spokeswoman for the university's medical center.

"While the stem cell center had long-term plans for the space, it had been underutilized at the time," Hawes said. "None of the stem cell center's budget is used for space, and the medical center is regularly evaluating space needs based on the requirements of its schools, departments and centers."

University officials said they're still committed to the lab, which is currently being run by Richard Barohn, the vice chancellor for research. Executive Vice Chancellor Robert Simari could appoint a new director for the center as early as next week, Hawes said.

"Research and education projects continue and the staff meets regularly with Dr. Barohn and Dr. Simari," she said.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com