UCLA reports that the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has awarded a total of $5.42 million in stem cell grants to four scientists in the university’s Broad Stem Cell Research Center. The funding supports research in an effort to translate stem cell science from the lab bench to the patient’s bedside.Luisa Iruela-Arispe, a professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology, was awarded $1.37 million. She is working to better understand how endothelial cells, located in the inside wall of blood vessels, can be coaxed into producing large numbers of blood stem cells, which can make every type of blood cell in the body. Her team’s findings ultimately could lead to new therapies for certain blood disorders and cancers.
Bennett Novitch, an assistant professor of neurobiology, was awarded $1.36 million to support research examining the molecular, genetic and functional similarities and differences between motor neurons derived from human embryonic stem cells and those derived from induced pluripotent stem cells.
The research will significantly advance the understanding of how different motor neuron subtypes can be created from stem cells to build disease models and generate therapeutically beneficial cells.
Robb MacLellan, an associate professor of medicine, was awarded $1.37 million. His work focuses on characterizing cardiac progenitor cells, which can differentiate into the various cell types found in the heart, including cardiac muscle cells. His discoveries could be applied to future cardiovascular stem cell treatment clinical trials that seek to reverse or repair heart muscle damage. This provides the potential to help the millions of Americans who are born with or develop heart disease.
Dr. Michael Teitell, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, was awarded $1.32 million. His grant will fund research to uncover the role of mitochondria, the cell's energy factories, in stem cell proliferation, maintenance of pluripotency and differentiation potential. Studies have suggested that mitochondrial function determines the quality and safety of stem cells.
As reported in the UCLA Newsroom