Training Stem Cell Researchers at the Chemistry-Biology Interface

Training Stem Cell Researchers at the Chemistry-Biology Interface

Funding Type: 
Research Training II
Grant Number: 
TG2-01165
Award Value: 
$3,972,933
Status: 
Active
Public Abstract: 
We will provide an interdisciplinary stem cell training program that incorporates teaching and research in chemistry, functional genomics, and molecular genetics. The goal of this proposal is to train scientists for future careers in basic or applied research in the field of stem cell biology, with a particular emphasis on training coworkers at the interface of chemistry and biology in order to more effectively apply chemical tools and approaches to basic research and the development of new therapeutic approaches in regenerative medicine. An important component of the training program will be to introduce trainees to the most modern techniques in chemistry, genomics and genetics and their application to stem cell research. This requires a training program that brings together graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from the biology and chemistry disciplines in order to (1) educate them in the basic biology, methods, and applications in embryonic and adult stem cell biology; (2) cross train them in the principles and approaches that chemists and biologists apply to biological problems; (3) foster research collaborations between chemists and biologists in the stem cell field; and (4) stimulate an awareness of the problems and ethical issues associated with basic and applied stem cell research. We are requesting a Type II program with support for 10 trainees.
Statement of Benefit to California: 
The ultimate goal of stem cell research is the development of therapeutic strategies for a wide range of human diseases including cardiovascular disease, neurogenerative disease, mucososkeletal disease, diabetes and cancer. This goal can only be achieved with the acquisition of basic knowledge of the properties of stem cells, their controlled expansion and differentiation and integration into affected tissues. To achieve this goal it is essential to train scientists for a future career in the field of stem cell research that apply their knowledge to the study of stem cells and the development of therapeutic strategies for regenerative medicine. The aim of the proposed training program is to incorporate teaching and research in chemistry, functional genomics, and genetic to train scientists that can effectively apply an interdisciplinary approach to basic stem cell research and regenerative medicine. These scientists will be essential to further advance stem cell research and training at academic institutions and hospitals in California, and to provide pharmaceutical companies and the biotechnology industry with scientists that are dedicated to develop therapeutic applications in regenerative medicine.
Progress Report: 

Year 1

The training program exploits the unique strengths of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in chemistry and biology to provide an interdisciplinary stem cell training program that incorporates teaching and research in chemistry, functional genomics, and molecular genetics. The goal of this proposal is to train scientists for future careers in basic or applied research in the field of stem cell biology, with a particular emphasis on training coworkers at the interface of chemistry and biology in order to more effectively apply chemical tools and approaches to basic research and the development of new therapeutic approaches in regenerative medicine. The program also take advantage of the unique strength of the TSRI in applying genomics, proteomics and glycomics, and genetics to biological questions. This requires a training program that brings together graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from the biology and chemistry disciplines in order to (1) educate them in the basic biology, methods, and applications in embryonic and adult stem cell biology; (2) cross train them in the principles and approaches that chemists and biologists apply to biological problems; (3) foster research collaborations between chemists and biologists in the stem cell field; and (4) stimulate an awareness of the problems and ethical issues associated with basic and applied stem cell research. This training program benefits from close interactions within the San Diego Consortium of Regenerative Medicine (SDCRM) (TSRI, UCSD, Salk, Sanford Burnham) including collaborative research projects and joint seminar programs, classes, and workshops. In the past year, the program has trained 10 fellows in a wide range of stem-cell related topics. Each fellow has participated in the inter-institutional Core Course in Stem Cell Biology, Medicine and Ethics that is taught by the faculty from TSRI, UCSD, Salk, and Sanford Burnham. Participants had also access to facilities that allow them to obtain practical training in such topics as the culturing of human stem cells, high-throughput screening of chemical libraries, and high-throughput screening using genomic tools (whole genome and siRNA libraries). In addition, trainees carried out active research in the laboratories of their mentors covering a variety of disease-relevant research topics such as: (i) the generation of human neural progenitors and neuronal subtypes using iPS technology; (ii) high-throughput chemical screens to identify compounds that can induce oligodendrocyte precusor differentiation for the treatment of demyelination disesases; (iii) the generation of disease specific cell types from human cells using iPS technology to mimic diseases such as the neurodevelopmental disorder Mowat-Wilson-Syndrome; (iv) the generation of stem cell tools and neurons to study Rett Syndrome; (v) the differentiation of adipocyte stem cells for the treatment of metabolic disorder. Trainees are provided with opportunities to present their research on conferences and attend the Annual SDCRM fellows retreat (at the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine in San Diego), the Stem Cell on the Mesa conference (at the Salk Institute in San Diego), and the CIRM funded stem cell conference (in San Francisco). The training program has already significantly impacted stem cell research in California. The most direct impact is probably in form of support of research and development programs at academic institutions, biotechnololgy companies and pharma industry with well trained fellows. Several of the predoctoral trainees from the program have progressed to postdoctoral positions, while several postdoctoral fellows have accepted positions in companies where they use their experties in stem cell research for the development of therapeutics. The program has also enabled researchers that were not previously involved in stem cell reasearch to enter the field by training students and postdoctoral fellows in their laboratory through the mechanisms offered by the training program.

Year 2

The training program exploits the unique strengths of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in chemistry and biology to provide an interdisciplinary stem cell training program that incorporates teaching and research in chemistry, functional genomics, and molecular genetics. The goal of this proposal is to train scientists for future careers in basic or applied research in the field of stem cell biology, with a particular emphasis on training coworkers at the interface of chemistry and biology in order to more effectively apply chemical tools and approaches to basic research and the development of new therapeutic approaches in regenerative medicine. The program also take advantage of the unique strength of the TSRI in applying genomics, proteomics and glycomics, and genetics to biological questions. This requires a training program that brings together graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from the biology and chemistry disciplines in order to (1) educate them in the basic biology, methods, and applications in embryonic and adult stem cell biology; (2) cross train them in the principles and approaches that chemists and biologists apply to biological problems; (3) foster research collaborations between chemists and biologists in the stem cell field; and (4) stimulate an awareness of the problems and ethical issues associated with basic and applied stem cell research. This training program benefits from close interactions within the San Diego Consortium of Regenerative Medicine (SDCRM) (TSRI, UCSD, Salk, Sanford Burnham) including collaborative research projects and joint seminar programs, classes, and workshops. In the past year, the program has trained 10 fellows in a wide range of stem-cell related topics. Each fellow has participated in the inter-institutional Core Course in Stem Cell Biology, Medicine and Ethics that is taught by the faculty from TSRI, UCSD, Salk, and Sanford Burnham. Participants had also access to facilities that allow them to obtain practical training in such topics as the culturing of human stem cells, high-throughput screening of chemical libraries, and high-throughput screening using genomic tools (whole genome and siRNA libraries). In addition, trainees carried out active research in the laboratories of their mentors covering a variety of disease-relevant research topics such as: (i) the generation of human neural progenitors and neuronal subtypes using iPS technology; (ii) high-throughput chemical screens to identify compounds that can induce oligodendrocyte precusor differentiation for the treatment of demyelination disesases; (iii) the generation of disease specific cell types from human cells using iPS technology to mimic diseases such as Fragile-X and nicotine addiction; (iv) the generation of stem cell tools and neurons to study neocortical development and disease; (v) the differentiation of adipocyte stem cells for the treatment of metabolic disorder. Trainees are provided with opportunities to present their research on conferences and attend the Annual SDCRM fellows retreat (at the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine in San Diego), the Stem Cell on the Mesa conference (at the Salk Institute in San Dieog), and the CIRM funded stem cell conference (in San Francisco). The training program has already significantly impacted stem cell research in California. The most direct impact is probably in form of support of research and development programs at academic institutions, biotechnololgy companies and pharma industry with well-trained fellows. Several of the predoctoral trainees from the program have progressed to postdoctoral positions, while several postdoctoral fellows have accepted positions in companies where they use their knowledge in stem cell research for the development of therapeutics. The program has also enabled researchers that were not previously involved in stem cell research to enter the field by training students and postdoctoral fellows in their laboratory through the mechanisms offered by the training program.

© 2013 California Institute for Regenerative Medicine