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CIRM Gives Tentative Approval of Renewal Grant for UC San Diego Stem Cell Training Program 

 

January 30, 2009 

The stem cell research training program at the University of California, San Diego has been awarded conditional funding of $3.89 million from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to continue its training of graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and clinical fellows across myriad medical and scientific disciplines.

In light of California’s current financial situation, CIRM’s governing board – the 29-member Independent Citizens Oversight Committee (ICOC) – voted to support this and 14 other Research Training Program II awards, pending future financial availability.  Today’s award will bring the total CIRM funding to UC San Diego to nearly $40 million since grants were first awarded in late 2005.

Under the direction of Larry Goldstein, PhD, professor of cellular and molecular medicine, the program will continue to provide interdisciplinary training in stem cell biology and medicine for scientists enrolled at UC San Diego’s School of Medicine, Division of Biological Sciences, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Jacob’s School of Engineering.

 “We are very proud of the success of the next generation of stem cell scientists, young scientists and clinicians who have trained here at UC San Diego since 2006, when the program first received CIRM funding,” said Goldstein, who added that several of the trainees have had research papers accepted by major scientific journals or have been hired by academic institutions to begin their own careers as teachers and researchers.  “Trainees can apply their background – in fields ranging from biology and chemistry to materials science and engineering – to basic stem cell research, potentially leading to the development of new approaches to understanding and treating human diseases,”  added Goldstein.

In addition to training in basic stem cell research methodology in the Core Stem Cell Facility, located on the UC San Diego campus, the program also offers classes in the ethics of stem cell research.  This unique research ethics component includes trainees from the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine – comprised of UC San Diego, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, The Scripps Research Institute and The Burnham Institute.

The ICOC also announced that 11 universities received funding for CIRM’s “Bridges to Stem Cell Research Program” that will provide opportunities for motivated undergraduate and masters-level graduate students in molecular life sciences to obtain vital hands-on experience in laboratory techniques used in state-of-the-art stem cell research.  UC San Diego will partner with three of them – San Diego State University, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and California State University, San Marcos – by providing hands-on training in research labs at UC San Diego.

The ICOC gave tentative approval for total of $58 million in funding for 26 grants to support California’s future work force in stem cell research, pending a future decision by the governing board to move forward with funding.

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Media Contact: Debra Kain, 619-543-6163, ddkain@ucsde.du

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