Researchers funded by CIRM developed a novel way of generating induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. The technique involves a genetic molecule called a microRNA to activate genes required to reprogram the adult cell to a state similar to an embryonic stem cell. The authors think microRNAs could make existing methods for creating those cells – either with inserted DNA or chemical baths – more efficient, and could also prevent the reprogramming that takes place when a normal cell becomes cancerous. The lead author, Robert Judson, is a graduate student in the lab of Robert Blelloch, who has CIRM grants (New Faculty II and SEED) to study the role of microRNAs in stem cells. Read the research blog about these results.