Stem cell 'tool' grants given to five researchers

The awards are the third in the agency’s “tools and technology” grants, which encourage researchers to develop new methods and techniques to overcome stumbling blocks in the field.

Five Stanford researchers were awarded grants of between $1 million and $2 million each by the state stem cell agency at its most recent board meeting.

The awards were given through the agency’s “tools and technology” grant program, which encourages researchers to develop new methods and techniques to overcome stumbling blocks in the field. The agency, known as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, distributed a total of nearly $30 million dollars during the Jan. 29 meeting.

Following are the Stanford recipients:

  • Sarah Heilshorn, PhD, associate professor of materials science and engineering, who together with co-principal investigator Giles Plant, PhD, associate professor of neurosurgery, received $1.4 million to develop an injectable scaffold to support the growth and development of transplanted stem cells.
  • Anthony Oro, MD, PhD, professor of dermatology, who together with co-principal investigator Marius Wernig, MD, associate professor of pathology, received $1.4 million to identify epigenomic signatures that can be used to select induced pluripotent stem cell lines for differentiation into a variety of tissues.
  • Joseph Wu, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and of radiology and director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, who received $1.9 million to develop a large-animal model in which to test the transplantation of heart muscle tissue derived from induced pluripotent stem cells.
  • Irving Weissman, MD, professor of pathology and of developmental biology and director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, who together with co-principal investigator Judith Shizuru, MD, associate professor of medicine, received $1.4 million to develop ways to generate better-tolerated, transplantable, blood-forming stem cells from induced pluripotent stem cells and to test new ways to prepare recipients for the transplantation of the cells.
  • Fan Yang, PhD, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery and of bioengineering, who received $1.4 million to develop microribbon-based hydrogels to enhance the engraftment and survival of transplanted stem cells.

With these awards, Stanford has received a total of around $296 million from CIRM.

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