CIRM Provides $11 Million Boost in Funding to Train Stem Cell Scientists

Stanford, Calif., December 10, 2009 – Two critical programs funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state stem cell agency, got a $11 million increase today when the agency’s 29-member Governing Board voted to approve funding for two additional grants in the Training II program and five additional grants in the Bridges program.

The grants voted in today had been recommended by the Scientific and Medical Research Funding Working Group for funding if funds permit. In January 2009, when the Board considered those applications, they voted to fund only the top tier due to uncertainty in the bond market. With improvements in the state’s bond situation, the Board chose to reconsider the second tier of grants in order to further bolster successful programs training the next generation of stem cell scientists and laboratory staff.

Robert Klein, chair of the Governing Board, said funding these additional programs is an important step in ensuring that California has a well-trained stem cell workforce. “Training is critical to our mission of developing new therapies,” he said. “During a time when the state is having to cut funding to higher education, our agency is bridging part of the gap, ensuring that highly qualified students receive the training they need to fill the high-tech stem cell research jobs of the future.”

The Training II awards provide funding for graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and clinical fellows doing research in stem cell biology labs. The Bridges awards fund coursework and internships to prepare undergraduate and masters level students for careers in academic and industry stem cell science laboratories. Together, these programs ensure a pipeline of highly trained stem cell scientists and laboratory personnel to propel California’s growing stem cell industry.

Lisa Klig, Director of the Bridges program at California State University, Long Beach, said the program has been so successful that two additional sites have requested interns, indicating the need for lab personnel with stem cell training. Her diverse students are also typical of the program across California: of four students all are women, two are Hispanic and one is Asian. “The students are loving it and are highly successful in their internships,” she said.

Other ICOC Business

The Board approved the concept for the next round of Early Translational Awards. The first round, awarded in April 2009, went to 16 grantees who are in the early stages of translating basic stem cell science into new therapies.

“This grant program has an important place in our overall strategy of funding basic stem cell biology and then supporting scientists working to turn those basic discoveries into new cures,” said Alan Trounson, CIRM President. “This next round of Early Translational grants will push more good ideas toward therapies for the people of California and the world.”

The board also voted to increase the salary of vice-chair Art Torres, which had been based on a half-time schedule. The increase to $225,00 for 80% time reflects both his expanded time commitment and his valuable service to the agency.

The board also voted to create a subcommittee on communication to consider options for increasing CIRM’s outreach to the public. The committee will be chaired by Robert Klein with Art Torres serving as vice-chair.

New Bridges Programs

Application Number

Institution

PI Name

Total Budget

TB1-01181

California State University, Fullerton

Nilay Patel

$1,281,180

TB1-01183

California State University, Northridge

Randy Cohen

$1,627,220

TB1-01185

California State University, San Bernardino

Nicole Bournias-Vardiabasis

$1,164,017

TB1-01188

City College Of San Francisco

Carin Zimmerman

$1,110,608

TB1-01197

Berkeley City College

Barbara Des Rochers

$1,093,569

Total approved today

$6,276,594

New Training II programs

Application Number

Institution

PI Name

Total Budget

TG2-01155

Buck Institute for Age Research

David Greenberg

$1,571,229

TG2-01161

University of Southern California

Robert Maxson

$3,032,100

Total approved today

$4,603,329

All grants funded to-date

Institution

Total Grants

Total Funds

Stanford University

42

$162,979,744

University of California, Los Angeles

32

$117,204,702

University of California, San Francisco

30

$102,971,301

University of Southern California

19

$71,128,925

University of California, San Diego

25

$65,583,177

University of California, Irvine

22

$59,757,564

University of California, Davis

15

$49,088,145

Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine

1

$43,000,000

City of Hope National Medical Center

7

$36,730,319

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies

13

$35,051,452

University of California, Berkeley

10

$34,626,605

Scripps Research Institute

11

$27,560,249

Buck Institute for Age Research

5

$27,000,593

Novocell, Inc.

4

$26,281,356

Burnham Institute for Medical Research

15

$23,134,219

The J. David Gladstone Institutes

13

$22,633,003

University of California, Santa Cruz

9

$19,383,633

Childrens Hospital Los Angeles

7

$14,219,310

University of California, Merced

5

$8,494,301

University of California, Santa Barbara

5

$8,490,842

University of California, Riverside

4

$6,055,762

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

2

$5,607,118

BioTime, Inc.

1

$4,721,706

The Jackson Laboratory West

1

$3,841,240

The Parkinson's Institute

1

$3,701,766

San Diego State University

2

$3,464,360

Scripps Health

1

$3,118,431

Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

3

$2,473,053

California Institute of Technology

1

$2,071,823

San Jose State University

1

$1,756,260

California State University, Channel Islands

1

$1,755,906

California State University, San Marcos

1

$1,754,664

Pasadena City College

1

$1,750,491

San Francisco State University

1

$1,736,058

California State University, Northridge

 1

$1,627,220

Humboldt State University

1

$1,638,863

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

1

$1,459,297

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

1

$1,419,009

California State University, Long Beach

1

$1,355,700

California State University, Sacramento

1

$1,343,940

California State University, Fullerton

 1

$1,281,180

California State University, San Bernardino

 1

$1,164,017

City College Of San Francisco

 1

$1,110,608

Berkeley City College

 1

$1,093,569

VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc.

1

$971,558

Gamma Medica-Ideas, Inc.

1

$949,748

Vala Sciences, Inc.

1

$906,629

Invitrogen Corporation

1

$869,262

Fluidigm Corporation

1

$749,520

Human BioMolecular Research Institute

1

$714,654

Childrens Hospital Oakland Research Institute

1

$55,000

TOTALS

328

$1,017,837,852

 

About CIRM

CIRM was established in November, 2004 with the passage of Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act. The statewide ballot measure, which provided $3 billion in funding for stem cell research at California universities and research institutions, was overwhelmingly approved by voters, and called for the establishment of an entity to make grants and provide loans for stem cell research, research facilities, and other vital research opportunities. To date, the CIRM governing board has approved 328 grants totaling more than $1 billion, making CIRM the largest source of funding for human embryonic stem cell research in the world. For more information, please visit www.cirm.ca.gov.

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Don Gibbons
415-396-9117
415-740-5855 (mobile)

The existing Bridges programs are listed here: /about-cirm/newsroom/press-releases/01302009/cirm-approves-58-million-build-californias-future-stem
Contact Don Gibbons to speak with program directors, funded students or intern mentors about the impact of this program on students or on research labs.
 

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