California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has appointed former ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT host Leeza Gibbons to head up a major scientific research agency - looking into Alzheimer's disease. Gibbons - whose mother was diagnosed with the degenerative illness in 2002 - will take on the role of advocate on the 29-member panel to oversee stem cell research. They will work alongside the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which spends $300,000 (GBP150,000) a year on research grants. Schwarzenegger cites U.S. TV presenter Gibbons' first-hand knowledge of the disease as the reason behind the appointment. He says, "Leeza's personal experience as a caregiver and advocate makes her uniquely qualified for this position." Scientists hope human embryonic stem cells can at some point be used to treat the crippling brain disease and California voters approved creation of the agency after U.S. president George Bush's administration decided to limit federal funding for the research. Gibbons, 50, spent a decade presenting hit show Entertainment Tonight and moved on to daytime talk show Leeza from 1994 to 2000. Last year (06), she had a short-lived run on reality programme, Dancing With The Stars.