November 2013 Newsletter

CIRM November Newsletter

Alan Trounson Stepping Down as CIRM President

Alan Trounson, PhD, has announced he is going to step down as CIRM President in order to spend more time with his family in Australia. The CIRM governing board has asked Dr. Trounson, and he has agreed, to remain as President, while the agency begins the search for a new President. "He has helped establish us as a world leader in the field of stem cell research. We are truly grateful for his vision, his expertise and his leadership. He has created a legacy which he can be proud of," Jonathan Thomas, PhD, JD, Chair of the Board said in the press release about Trounson's departure.

New Videos: Is a HIV Cure Possible? Public Forum Discusses HIV Cure Research

On October 1st, CIRM along with the AIDS Research Institute and the Gladstone Institutes hosted an inspiring public forum in San Francisco about the current state of HIV cure research. The event included brief presentations and a panel discussion by a distinguished lineup of clinicians, researchers and advocates, many of whom have dedicated their life's work toward finding a cure for HIV infection. Speakers included Steve Deeks/UCSF, Warner Greene/Gladstone Institutes, Hans-Peter Kiem/Fred Hutcinson Cancer Research Center, Mike McCune/UCSF, Alan Trounson/CIRM and Louis Bretton/Calimmune. Jeff Sheehy/AIDS Research Institute gave the introductory remarks and Maria Millan/CIRM moderated. The videos of the forum are now available on the CIRM website.

New CIRM Report: Cell Therapies for Parkinson’s Disease from Discovery to Clinic

In March of 2013, CIRM in collaboration with the Center for Regenerative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health held a two-day workshop on cell therapies for Parkinson’s Disease(PD) with the goals of reviewing the state of stem cell research for the treatment of PD and to discuss and refine the approach and appropriate patient population(s) in which to plan and conduct new clinical trials using stem cell–based therapies for PD. In October, the agency published a white paper summarizing the major findings from that workshop. On November 4th, CIRM and he Regenerative Medicine Consortium (RMC) host a free webinar, "Cell Therapies for Parkinson’s Disease from Discovery to Clinic", that was insipired by the workshop. 

New Video: High School Interns Brighten the Future of Stem Cell Therapies

Over the summer and fall, we rolled out our "Through Their Lens" social media series to showcase seventy students from forty high schools who did stem cell research summer internships at nine universities throughout California. The programs are supported by CIRM's Creativity Awards. We were happily overwhelmed with over 300 social media uploads to our website including blogs, Instagram photos and YouTube videos submitted by the students to describe their summer in the lab. This CIRM-produced video serves as an epilogue to this past summer's internships and provides a sneak peak at these students' bright futures as stem cell scientists. Over the course of the three-year CIRM Creativity Awards program, our agency will have supported 220 high school students in stem cell research internships.

CIRM’s High School Stem Cell Curriculum Now Reflects the New Next Generation Science Standards

In September 2013, the State of California adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a national effort to transform K-12 science into an interdisciplinary, practical, real-world endeavor accessible to all students. CIRM has created the first NGSS-based high school units that teach fundamental cell biology, organismal biology, and genetics concepts through the lens of stem cell research. These units are now available for free on the CIRM website. 

CIRM Celebrates Sixth Annual Stem Cell Awareness Day

October 2nd marked the sixth annual Stem Cell Awareness Day with classroom lectures, tours of stem cell facilities, and other special activities around the world. Researchers funded by CIRM at universities and companies up and down the state of California visited classrooms where the teachers had requested a guest lecture. More than 3,000 students that day got the opportunity to learn about stem cell research from one of these guest scientists. Even more lectures were scheduled throughout the month. 

CIRM President Alan Trounson's October Stem Cell Research Picks

Each month CIRM President Alan Trounson reports on advances in stem cell science by highlighting recently published papers from CIRM grantees and other leading research teams around the world.  

1700 and Counting: The Latest Publications on CIRM-funded Research

With over 1700 published discoveries, CIRM grantees are making steady progress on understanding the molecular basis of stem cell biology and moving stem cell-based therapies toward clinical trials. Here is a partial list of science journals that published CIRM-funded research in September/October along with press releases from the grantees' home institutions and entries from the CIRM Stem Cell Research Blog:

September 10th - Circulation

October 9th - Nature

October 16th - Nature

October 20th - Nature Materials

October 27th - Nature Chemical Biology

Upcoming CIRM Events

December 11th-12th: The CIRM governing board will hold its 7th and final meeting of 2013 in Los Angeles. The agenda and details will be posted to the meetings page 10 days before the event.

November 2nd, 11am-4pm: Bay Area Science Festival - Discovery Days at AT&T Park

Bring the family to AT&T Park for some hands-on science fun at the Bay Area Science Festival. Last year more than 30,000 people enjoyed the 150+ interactive exhibits. CIRM's booth will have some Play Doh on hand to help explain the origin of embryonic stem cells.

November 14th, 10am to 12pm (Pacific Time): Parkinson's Webinar - CIRM and the Regenerative Medicine Consortium (RMC) host a webinar, "Cell Therapies for Parkinson’s Disease from Discovery to Clinic", with presentations from the FDA and leading experts. This free webinar requires advanced registration (click here). The webinar agenda is available on the CIRM website.

November 15th, 9am to 6pm: The World Alliance Forum hosts, "The Future of Stem Cells: How will Stem Cell Research Change our Society" in San Francisco. Shinya Yamanaka, a 2012 Nobel Laureate, will be the keynote speaker. Other world leaders in the stem cell field will also speak and participate in panel discussions. Click here for a detailed program of the forum.

December 3rd-6th: The World Stem Cell Summit holds its annual conference this year in San Diego, CA. Planned by and for the stem cell and regenerative medicine community, the Summit brings global stakeholders together to solve global challenges. The goal of the Summit is to accelerate the discovery and development of lifesaving cures and therapies. For more information visit the World Stem Cell Summit website.

CIRM Funding Opportunities

RFA 13-07: CIRM Alpha Stem Cell Clinics Network: Coordinating and Information Management Center - Letters of Intent (LOIs) must be received by CIRM no later than 5:00 pm (PST) on December 16, 2013 via the CIRM Grants Management Portal. CIRM will conduct a webinar for prospective applicants on Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at 10 AM (PT) to address questions about both RFA 13-06 and 13-07 and the application process.  Registration for the webinar is available at

RFA 13-06: CIRM Alpha Stem Cell Clinics Network: Alpha Stem Cell Clinics - Letters of Intent (LOIs) must be received by CIRM no later than 5:00 pm (PST) on December 16, 2013 via the CIRM Grants Management Portal. CIRM will conduct a webinar for prospective applicants on Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at 10 AM (PT) to address questions about both RFA 13-06 and 13-07 and the application process.  Registration for the webinar is available at

RFA 13-05: CIRM Tools and Technologies III Awards - Deadline for submission of Preliminary applications (PreApps) is 5:00 pm (PST) on January 7, 2014.

RFA 13-04: External Innovation Pilot Program - Prior to submitting an application, a PI must submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) describing the proposed project. CIRM will evaluate the LOI -- refer to Section VIII.A. of the RFA for evaluation criteria. This RFA is targeted at only the most exceptional proposals: CIRM expects to support only one or two such projects each year.

RFA 13-03: CIRM Strategic Partnership III Awards - CIRM intends to offer repeat calls under this initiative every 6-9 months. The focus, scope and objective may differ with each solicitation. CIRM conducted a webinar for prospective applicants on August 7, 2013 to address questions about the RFA and application process. Click here to watch webinar and view Q & A.

RFA 09-04: CIRM Research Leadership Awards - Applications due on January 14, 2014. 

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.

PA 08-06: CIRM Conference Grants - Applications for conference grants will be accepted, reviewed and approved

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