Funding opportunities

Training Stem Cell Researchers at the Chemistry-Biology Interface

Funding Type: 
Research Training II
Grant Number: 
Principle Investigator: 
Funds requested: 
$1 997 328
Funding Recommendations: 
Grant approved: 
Public Abstract: 
Statement of Benefit to California: 
Review Summary: 
This is an application for competitive renewal and expansion of a Type II Training program. The Program Director (PD) requests annual support for training five predoctoral students and five postdoctoral fellows. This is an increase from the three predoctoral and three postdoctoral trainees in the Training Program I. The program builds upon an existing interdisciplinary training program at the host institution and interactions with other institutions in the area through a regenerative medicine consortium. The proposed training program takes advantage of the unique strengths of the host institution in biological sciences and chemistry to address questions relevant to stem cell research. Required course work includes a core course in stem cell biology with a medicine and ethics component, a new course in chemical and functional genomics, a laboratory course for human embryonic stem cell research and a monthly stem cell colloquium. The program also includes the annual stem cell meeting and a biannual single day off-site retreat at which trainees present their work. Reviewers considered the overall quality of the training program as outstanding. The emphasis on the interface between chemistry and biology provides a strong foundation for spawning an interdisplinary program in stem cell biology. The reviewers recognized the strength of the exceptionally qualified faculty at the host institution in diverse fields including genomics, chemistry, glycomics, reprogramming and profiling of stem cells and mouse molecular genetics as well as the focus on the clinical applications. Reviewers considered the existing collaborative research programs and classroom activities at nearby institutions as resources that make this strong training program even stronger. The review panel found the PD to be exceptionally well qualified to lead the program. Based on his/her previous experience, the review panel judged the PD to have strong experience directing large programs and providing administrative leadership to multiple laboratories. The co-director of the program has outstanding training and research record. The steering committee was also well recognized for the qualifications of its members. The faculty members that will serve as mentors to the trainees consist of senior and junior faculty members. The review panel thought that some of the junior faculty members should have been paired with the senior faculty in order for them to learn how to effectively train graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. It appears that this aspect have been overlooked in the program. The review panel criticized the proposal for not providing any information on the existing training programs at the host institution. Moreover, outcome measures for student trainees are not described including publications and placement. The host institution was recognized for its excellent diversity with a relatively high proportion of under represented minorities. Reviewers described the commitment of the host institution for research as outstanding because of its existing commitment to stem cell research, an ongoing commitment in new space and hiring of new faculty that will facilitate stem cell research. Overall reviewers very enthusiastic about this program.

© 2013 California Institute for Regenerative Medicine