March 2013 Newsletter

CIRM March Newsletter

CIRM Hosts Free Public Seminar: Teaming Up for Cures - Progress and Promise in Stem Cell Research

Thursday March 7th, 6:30-7:30pm Grand Ballroom Hyatt Regency San Francisco: Mix and mingle with stem cell scientists and learn about new therapies. The state stem cell agency supports teams of researchers working toward therapies in 40 different diseases. This public event will highlight a few of those teams with talks and an interactive Q&A with researchers involved in developing stem cell therapies for debilitating diseases and conditions like blindness, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and Parkinson's disease. Light snacks will be provided and a cash bar will be available.

CIRM Launches New Website: More information, Easier to use

In early February, CIRM launched a new, easier to use website with more information to help people stay up to date on stem cell research and follow our progress. One big change is on our searchable grants table: In the past, if you clicked on the title of one of those awards you could read information about what the researchers were hoping to accomplish with our funding. Now, you can learn what they've actually done: we're providing summaries of their yearly progress and see publications that have resulted from the funding. Other changes include an improved searching of our collection of 200 videos and a new and improved CIRM FAQ.

New Videos: Spotlight on Stem Cell Advances in Pediatric Heart Disease 

The day before 9/11, just four months pregnant, Mary Goulart and her husband got devastating news from ultrasound results: their baby had several heart defects including a missing left ventricle. After birth, baby Joshua endured three open-heart surgeries and a massive stroke. Through years of various therapies and true determination, Joshua, now 11 years old, is doing remarkably well. But looming on the horizon is the eventual need for a heart transplant which isn't a long term solution for a teenager. Goulart recounted her son Joshua's heart story at the most recent CIRM Governing Board meeting as part of the public seminar Spotlight on Stem Cell Advances in Pediatric Heart Disease. Preceding Goulart's talk, CIRM grantee Deepak Srivastava spoke to the board about his Gladstone Institute lab's progress toward both long-term stem cell-based strategies which aim to rebuild parts of the heart but also more near term goals to regenerate heart muscle from within the existing heart. 

CIRM Grantees Win Awards for their Stem Cell Work

Two of our grantees at Stanford and the University of California, Santa Barbara received prestigious awards for their stem cell research. Joanna Wysocka from Stanford received an award from the Vilcek Foundation, which honors foreign-born scientists and artists (Wysocka was born in Poland). Wysocka has received SEED, New Faculty, and Basic Biology III awards from CIRM. At UCSB, Dennis Clegg was one of ten winners of the National Eye Institute’s Audacious Goals challenge. Clegg is part of a CIRM Disease Team which aims to develop a therapy for macular degeneration based on retinal cells generated from embryonic stem cells. 

CIRM Holds Elevator Pitch Challenge at 2013 Grantee Meeting

For scientists, the importance of explaing their work to the average person is critical. If they can't make their research comprehensible and engaging they risk losing the attention of journalists, potential donors, politicians, or all those good people whose tax money funds their science. To help promote better science communication with the public, CIRM is holding an elevator pitch video challenge at the upcoming 2013 CIRM Grantee Meeting March 7-9 in San Francisco. Participants will record 30-second pitches describing their research on camera at the meeting and we'll post them to our website and YouTube channel and pick the best three.

Upcoming Events

March 7-9th: CIRM hosts its 2013 Grantee Meeting in San Francisco bringing together the stem cell scientists and trainees that the institute is funding. This leading edge event helps these researchers exchange ideas and increase their knowledge about stem cells biology and supports CIRM's goal of translating stem cell discoveries into therapies to relieve human suffering from chronic disease and injury.

March 19th: The CIRM governing board will hold its 2nd meeting of 2013 at the Hilton SFO Bayfront Hotel in Burlingame. The agenda and details will be posted to the meetings page 10 days before the event.

CIRM Funding Opportunities

RFA 13-01: CIRM Disease Team Therapy Development Awards III - Letter of Intent due 5:00 pm (PDT), March 13, 2013. CIRM conducted a webinar on Wenesday February 6, 2013 to provide information regarding RFA 13-01 including tips to potential applicants, an overview of the application process and questions from applicants. Click here to review the archived materials from this webinar.

RFA 13-02: CIRM Basic Biology Awards V -  Pre-applications due 5:00 pm (PDT), March 11, 2013

PA 12-08: CIRM Patent Assistance Fund Awards - Application opportunities on a monthly basis until June 30, 2014
Eligibility: Only Technology Transfer Officials at current CIRM Grantee institutions are eligible to apply for funds under this program. For more information, visit the PA 12-08 webpage.

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