Discovery Research Projects

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This page contains program announcements for CIRM’s Discovery Stage Research Programs. For Information on CIRM’s COVID-19 Initiative please click here:
Special Call for COVID-19 Projects

The mission of California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) is to accelerate stem cell treatments to patients with unmet medical needs. The objective of the Discovery Program is to support exploratory research leading to the discovery of novel stem cell technologies to improve patient care.

DISC 2: The Quest Awards

The Quest Awards Program promotes the discovery of promising new stem cell-based technologies that could be translated to enable broad use and ultimately, improve patient care. Projects funded through the Quest Awards should propose technology that is uniquely enabled by human stem/progenitor cells or directly reprogrammed cells, or uniquely enabling for the advancement of stem cell-based therapies. 

Please see the Partnering Opportunity for Discovery Stage Research Projects page for the Quest Program Announcement, application deadline and other details.

To Submit an Application:

  1. Go to the Grants Management Portal ( and log in with your existing CIRM Username and Password. If you do not have a Username, Click on the “New User” link and follow the instructions to create a CIRM Username and password.
  2. After logging in, select the tab labeled “Open Programs”. Under the section labeled “RFAs and Programs Open for Applications”, click on the applicable link to Start a DISC Grant Application.
  3. Complete each section of the Application by clicking on the appropriate link and following the posted instructions. Proposal templates can be located and submitted under the “Uploads” section.
  4. To submit your Application, click on the “Done with Application” button. The “Done with Application” button will be enabled when all of the mandatory sections have been completed. Please note that once this has been selected, you will no longer be able to make changes to your Application.
  5. To confirm submission of your Application, select the tab labeled “Your Applications” and check the table under the section labeled “Your Submitted Applications”. You will see your Application number and project title listed once the submission process has been completed.

ICOC Approval:
July 24, 2020
Total Awards:
Award Value:


Institution Investigator Grant Title Award Value
Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute Dr. Evan Y. Snyder Using hiPSC-derived lung organoids, a clinically-relevant system, to validate & winnow a list of approved drugs that inhibit SARS-CoV-2 cytopathy $228,229
University of California, Los Angeles Dr. Lili Yang Battling COVID-19 Using Off-The-Shelf HSC-Engineered iNKT Cells $250,000
University of Southern California Preet M Chaudhary Chimeric Antigen Receptor Targeting Spike Glycoprotein of SARS-cov2 $248,125
University of California, San Diego Dr Karen Christman Pro-healing biomaterial for treating lung inflammation associated with COVID-19 $221,758
City of Hope, Beckman Research Institute Dr Jianhua Yu Persistent Off-the-Shelf meACE2-CAR-IL-15 NK Cells Derived from CD34(+) Cord Blood Stem Cells to Prevent and Treat COVID-19 $150,000
Stanford University Dr. Albert J Wong Identifying HLA Class I Restricted Peptides That Induce CD8+ T Cells Against SARS-CoV-2 $249,999
Stanford University Dr. Helen M Blau Application of PGE2/BPV, a muscle stem cell targeting therapeutic, to the treatment of COVID-19 associated diaphragm atrophy $149,996
University of Southern California Dr. Justin K Ichida Development of a novel PIKFYVE kinase inhibitor for the treatment of COVID-19 $140,067
University of California, Los Angeles Prof. Song Li Biomaterial vaccine to enhance the formation of SARS-CoV-2-specific T memory stem cells $149,916
University of California, Los Angeles Dr. Gay Miriam Crooks Stem cell-based rapid identification of SARS-CoV-2 T cell epitopes and T cell receptors for therapeutic use $126,692
Scripps Research Institute Stuart A Lipton Repurposing Aminoadamantane Nitrate Compounds to Inhibit SARS-CoV-2 Viral Activity and to Protect the Brain from Viral-Related Damage $150,000
University of California, Los Angeles Dr. Brigitte N Gomperts Identifying a lead compound for COVID19 using high throughput screening with lung stem cell organoids $149,998