Year 6+NCE

The UCSB Training Program in Stem Cell Biology and Engineering is engaged in educating graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in stem cell research related to the molecular mechanisms of proliferation and differentiation as well as novel biotechnologies and bioengineering. In addition, CIRM funded fellows collaborate with other institutions with clinical programs to translate discoveries into potential therapies. Over the past year, significant scientific progress has been made in all of these areas. Novel insights have been gained to help us understand basic biological mechanisms of stem cell behavior in model organisms of the tunicate family, a primitive chordate marine organism. These creatures, which reside in the waters adjacent to UC Santa Barbara, are capable of regeneration after injury, and fellows are investigating how they do this, with the hope of some day applying what is learned to therapies for human patients. Fellows have made progress at the interface of biology and engineering in developing novel hydrogels that support adipose stem cells, for use in soft tissue regeneration after disease or injury. Novel Biotechnologies were researched to allow more efficient introduction of genes into cells, and for sorting of particular cell types from complex mixtures of cells. Finally, fellows have been actively contributing to a project aimed at developing a stem cell based therapy for age-realted macular degeneration. This project aims to begin clinical trials in 2015.