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UC Irvine awarded $3.9 million to upgrade stem cell research facilities, training

to train new researchers in the use of human embryonic stem cells. In 2006, UCI created a five-day Human Embryonic Stem Cell Techniques Course that teaches methods for cultivating, handling and differentiating human embryonic stem cells. The course is well-attended, drawing students from UCI and UC Riverside.

We are delighted that CIRM recognized the strength of our training program and the efforts of all at UCI who contributed to the quality of the course, said Leslie Lock, director of the training course.

UCI will use CIRM funds to lengthen the course to two weeks to include instruction on methods for cell transplantation and for testing potential therapies prior to clinical research. Currently, few opportunities exist for researchers to learn both how to develop potential human embryonic stem cell therapies and to carry out pre-clinical testing. CIRM funding also will support UCIs masters program in stem cell biology, which trains the next generation of scientists in this burgeoning field.

In all, UCI and its stem cell research scientists have been awarded $17.5 million in CIRM funding. Earlier this year, seven UCI scientists new to human embryonic stem cells were awarded research grants totaling $4 million, and three scientists with experience in the field were awarded grants totaling $7.4 million. In April 2006, UCI was awarded about $2 million to educate new stem cell researchers. UCI ranks fourth among 23 institutions for total CIRM funding.

UCI began its stem cell research program in the 1970s and moved into human stem cell research in 2000. Today, more than 60 UCI scientists use stem cells in current or planned studies. Now a hub for stem cell research in Southern California, UCI is raising money for a new building that would house its stem cell researchers, the core laboratory, training facilities and research space. UCI plans to apply for a CIRM facilities grant to build the structure.


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Contact: Jennifer Fitzenberger
jfitzen@uci.edu
949-824-3969
University of California - Irvine
5-Jun-2007


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