UCSB receives grant for stem cell research

Over the next 3 years, the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), will receive more than $1.3 million in state funds for stem cell research.

A wide variety of interdisciplinary studies of the basic biology of stem cells will be supported, including work on model organisms as well as human embryonic stem cells. The grant will fund two graduate students and four postdoctoral fellows over 3 years. Two new graduate courses, “Stem Cell Biology in Health and Disease” and “The Ethics of Human Embryo Research,” will be developed as part of the training.

The long-term goal of UCSB’s stem cell research program is to understand how human embryonic stem cells can be differentiated into ocular cells that might be used to treat eye disease, especially age-related macular degeneration, the institution said in a prepared statement.

The award was announced by the Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee as part of the first grant awards by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

“This is an exciting moment for the CIRM as these awards mark the first step in our scientific program of stem cell research-an accomplishment we have been able to achieve in less than one year as a state agency,” said CIRM President Zach Hall. “The CIRM training program will be the most comprehensive training program to date in the field. It will provide a pipeline of highly trained basic and clinical investigators for the research that CIRM will fund in California.”

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