Stem cell researchers at UC Santa Cruz continue to focus on fundamental issues in stem cell biology. This year the UCSC CIRM Shared Stem Cell Facility (SSCF) supported research advances that lead to seven publications and at least 4 new sponsored projects. The opportunities provided by SSCF resources have allowed our stem cell faculty to operate competitive research programs focusing on the genomic, molecular, and cellular mechanisms regulating stem cell self-renewal and differentiation in areas vital to furthering the goals of CIRM and the field of regenerative medicine.
UCSC’s contributions to stem cell research fall into three broad categories: (1) the basic biology governing stem cell identity, behavior, self-renewal, and early development, (2) cell fate determination in multipotent stem cells, and (3) the development of tools and technologies to facilitate stem cell research.
Work taking place in the SSCF includes:
• The unique biology of stem cell division
• Insights into how “germline memory” works
• The genes and mechanisms involved in the development of the cells that allow sight and regulate circadian rhythms
• Uncovering recent innovations in the human lineage that underlie our large and complex brain as well as aberrations leading to neurodevelopmental disease and cancer
• Research to improve hematopoietic transplantation protocols
• Studies on the regulation of the mammary stem cell niche, which when deregulated can lead to tumorigenesis
• Studies on the relationship of circadian timing and cell fate decisions
• Investigations of the molecular mechanisms underlying prostate cancer initiation
This work has advanced because of the opportunities afforded by our CIRM shared facility, which provides the necessary space, equipment, technical support, and knowledge. The SSCF staff has combined skills, experience, knowledge, and dedication to ensure each core within the facility is operating efficiently, optimally, and in compliance with all regulatory requirements. In addition, in the past year, the facility purchased 98% of our goods and services from California suppliers, exceeding the CIRM target level of 50%. In sum, the SSCF enables UC Santa Cruz to help build the knowledge base required to make stem-cell-based therapies a reality.