Center of Excellence for Stem Cell Genomics

Funding Type: 
Genomics Centers of Excellence Awards (R)
Grant Number: 
Award Value: 
Public Abstract: 

The Center of Excellence in Stem Cell Genomics will bring together investigators from seven major California research institutions to bridge two fields – genomics and pluripotent stem cell research. The projects will combine the strengths of the center team members, each of whom is a leader in one or both fields. The program directors have significant prior experience managing large-scale federally-funded genomics research programs, and have published many high impact papers on human stem cell genomics. The lead investigators for the center-initiated projects are expert in genomics, hESC and iPSC derivation and differentiation, and bioinformatics. They will be joined by leaders in stem cell biology, cancer, epigenetics and computational systems analysis. Projects 1-3 will use multi-level genomics approaches to study stem cell derivation and differentiation in heart, tumors and the nervous system, with implications for understanding disease processes in cancer, diabetes, and cardiac and mental health. Project 4 will develop novel tools for computational systems and network analysis of stem cell genome function. A state-of-the-art data management program is also proposed. This research program will lead the way toward development of the safe use of stem cells in regenerative medicine. Finally, Center resources will be made available to researchers throughout the State of California through a peer-reviewed collaborative research program.

Statement of Benefit to California: 

Our Center of Excellence for Stem Cell Genomics will help California maintain its position at the cutting edge of Stem Cell research and greatly benefit California in many ways. First, diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurological diseases, etc., pose a great financial burden to the State. Using advanced genomic technologies we will learn how stem cells change with growth and differentiation in culture and can best be handled for their safe use for therapy in humans. Second, through the collaborative research program, the center will provide genomics services to investigators throughout the State who are studying stem cells with a goal of understanding and treating specific diseases, thereby advancing treatments. Third, it will employ a large number of “high tech” individuals, thereby bringing high quality jobs to the state. Fourth, since many investigators in this center have experience in founding successful biotech companies it is likely to “spin off” new companies in this rapidly growing high tech field. Fifth, we believe that the iPS and information resources generated by this project will have significant value to science and industry and be valuable for the development of new therapies. Overall, the center activities will create a game-changing network effect for the state, propelling technology development, biological discovery and disease treatment in the field.

Progress Report: 

The CIRM Center of Excellence in Stem Cell Genomics (CESCG) at Salk has started functioning in its role as a nodal hub for collaborative research in the field of Stem cell Biology. At the CESCG we provide our expertise in computational analysis of high-throughput sequencing data as well as provide the services of the high-end sequencers.
The first batch of Salk CESCG collaborators selected for the Collaborative Research Projects (CRPs) include three groups from UCLA and one from UCSD. These projects focus on various aspects of understanding basic Biology (uncovering molecular mechanisms) and are aimed at applications to human health and disease. The comprehensive CRP grant has been awarded to the Crooks group at UCLA. The three other groups (Fan and Bruneau groups from UCLA) and Frazer group at UCSD have been awarded the regular CRP grants. Since May 1, 2015 the Salk CESCG staff has been in contact with the collaborators and are currently discussing logistics of the collaboration. The CESCG staff are also in contact with the Data Coordination and Management (DCM) center to formalize the data submission strategies.