The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, or CIRM, recently awarded $1.2 million to City of Hope to establish a formal stem cell research training program.
Michael Barish, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Neurosciences, is principal investigator on the grant establishing the “Type 3 Research Training Program” for City of Hope.
|Funds from a pending grant will support graduate students and postdoctoral fellows training to be stem cell researchers. (Photo by Paula Myers)|
“Our institution is in a particularly good position to provide this specialized training,” said Barish, noting City of Hope’s record of collaboration between laboratory and clinical researchers.
The program will support training for two graduate students and four postdoctoral fellows for three years and will fall under the umbrella of the Graduate School of Biological Sciences.
The potential curriculum includes courses in stem cell biology and stem cell research ethics, as well as hands-on laboratory work that will promote collaboration among faculty and staff across campus.
Arlene Chiu, Ph.D., director of City of Hope’s Office of New Research Initiatives, advised Barish on the grant preparation and submission.
“Not only will we train young scientists in the basic biology of stem cells, we also have a unique ability to teach them how such research can be translated into clinical applications,” Chiu said. “City of Hope already has well-established therapeutic programs in blood stem cell and islet cell transplantation, as well as research initiatives focusing on a wide range of stem and progenitor cells including cancer stem cells and embryonic, hematopoietic and neural stem cells.”
City of Hope’s faculty expertise in these and other key areas was vital to the successful grant application, she added.
According to the CIRM Web site, CIRM grant reviewers agreed. “The two outstanding strengths of this program are the institution’s strong tradition of translation of basic science into the clinic and the extraordinary core facilities available to the community,” they wrote.
CIRM reviewers also credited the program’s strong leadership team, which includes Barish and Dawn Eastmond, Ph.D., associate dean for student development, and reported that “the caliber of the science at this institution is excellent.”
While CIRM voted to fund City of Hope’s proposal and 14 similar submissions, the institute is withholding funding for all training grants due to California’s state budget challenges. When the situation resolves, the governing board plans to move forward with funding.
CIRM was established in early 2005 with the passage of Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act.