Year 5

Overall summary of progress from September 1, 2011 to August 31, 2012 is described. CIRM support for the core activities and initiatives, during the last year, has resulted in the further expansion of the Stanford Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Education. This Center has met, and exceeded, all of the original goals outlined in our initial proposal and has substantially expanded to further expand the only stem cell bank in the state of California that incorporates stem cell lines (hESCs and iPSCs) as well as donated embryos and oocytes and primary somatic cells. We have incorporated iPSCs throughout the research and educational activities. In addition, we have now incorporated methods of genome editing into our research program. We continue to expand our teaching to include derivation of iPSCs with mRNAs and to reach out beyond original courses to include undergraduate and graduate quarter-long courses.

The scope of research taking place in the facility between September 1, 2011, and August 31, 2012 encompassed that described in our previous report, as well as new efforts with an emphasis on: 1) Human embryology and derivation of hESCs, 2) cell fate specification and reprogramming, 3) cancer and cancer stem cells, and 4) directed differentiation to diverse lineages including the hematopoietic, cardiac and neural lineages. Over the last year, more than 25 laboratories received support for their research and in many cases, were able to conduct studies to generate data required to apply for funding for a full research program, thus bringing in funds to California.

The Stem Cells Techniques component of our Center consisted of three activities in 2011-2012: 1) The Stanford Pluripotent Stem Cell Training Course; 2) Individual Advanced Training; and 3) Seminars and Workshops which include broadly undergraduate educational classes (didactic and laboratory-based). The outline for our week-long formal training course has been continually improved. We remain overbooked for this course and thus, continue to offer it in the original form but with pertinent updates as needed. We have added iPSCs and reprogramming in lecture form in the last year. We have also designed our first quarter-long immersion in pluripotent stem cells for our incoming graduate students (in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine) and have expanded our iPSC reprogramming with mRNA.

The Student to Instructor ratio remained no more than 2:1; instructors for the year were knowledgeable on a diverse array of subjects necessary for success from derivation, differentiation and reprogramming to considerations of ethics and privacy of information. Students were again drawn primarily from the San Francisco Bay Area. During this last reporting period, we held 6 courses (expanded from 3-4 annually) on “hESCs and hiPSCs Biology”. The courses cover the basic biology of pluripotent stem cells, culture and differentiation of pluripotent stem cells, methods for the derivation of hiPSCs and derivation of primary culture of MEFs from murine fetal tissues. The course is one week long and consists of lectures, seminars and lab activities. We also provided instruction in an additional course on differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into endothelial cells, cardiomyocytes and smoothe muscle cells (one week of lectures, seminars and lab activities). This course was co-sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Progenitor Cell Biology Consortium (NHLBI).