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UC Irvine advances stem cell research with $4 million CIRM grant for shared resources lab

Funding will enable upgraded equipment, new services and user training in four critical areas

February 27, 2024

Orange, Calif. — UCI has received a five-year, $4 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to establish a shared resources lab in the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center. The facility will offer essential technologies and training for the development of novel in vitro stem cell-based modeling that will serve researchers across the campus and the state.

“Stem cells possess the potential to transform into particular cell types, offering promising avenues for rejuvenating and restoring tissues harmed by injury or affected by disease,” said principal investigator Craig Walsh, UCI professor of molecular biology and biochemistry.

“Utilizing stem cell modeling facilitates the development of new treatments and drug screening platforms and also provides deeper understanding of both discovery and translational research processes.”

The grant will expand the UCI stem cell center’s current lab capabilities, including the addition of new and upgraded equipment, instrumentation and components, and establish new services and user training in four key areas: foundational technologies, bioengineering and organoids, gene editing and high-dimensional spatial analysis. Training is essential to characterize stem cell models, develop novel regenerative medicine therapeutics, and ensure that there’s a workforce capable of implementing new strategies.

“Our state-of-the-art facility and cutting-edge training opportunities demonstrate our commitment to advancing stem cell research and discovery, as well as to education and skill enhancement,” said Aileen Anderson, PhD, director of the UCI stem cell center and professor of physical medicine & rehabilitation at the UCI School of Medicine.

“The impact of the lab’s initiatives will foster collaborations with academic and industrial partners throughout California and leverage existing training programs such as CIRM Bridges to accelerate innovation. This effort underscores the scientific community’s drive to transform the landscape of regenerative medicine.”

The Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center’s shared resources lab will contribute to the broader CIRM mission to develop a stem cell-based modeling ecosystem throughout California, supporting the basic and translational research necessary to advance scientific discoveries and the development of new therapeutic solutions for unmet medical needs, ranging from neurological diseases to cancer.

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