June 2013

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Peter's posits

Peter Donovan

Dear Friends,

As the 2012-2013 school year comes to a close, it is impressive to consider all we have accomplished together.

Your visionary contributions brought the center an enormously generous matching gift of $4 million from philanthropists, Sue and Bill Gross. That gift, in turn, inspired many more donors to come forward to support stem cell research. As a result, the $8 million build-out of the fourth floor at Gross Hall: A CIRM Institute is under way. When completed, the new space will offer a state-of-the-art conference center and labs for more innovative research.....(Peter’s Posits continues by clicking here)

– Peter Donovan, director of the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center

Research News

Weian Zhao

Stem cell researchers receive JDRF support to advance innovative diabetes treatments — Jonathan Lakey and Weian Zhao (pictured), both researchers in the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, have received more than $2.25 million in funding from JDRF (formerly Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) to advance their innovative efforts to treat diabetes. In one project, Lakey and his colleagues will advance methods to transplant encapsulated, stem cell-created pancreatic islets that overcome autoimmune rejection. With the other grant, Zhao and his colleagues will work to develop an insulin sensor for JDRF’s Artificial Pancreas Project, which supports the creation of an automated system to dispense insulin based on real-time changes in blood-sugar levels. To read more about their projects, click here.

Lisa Flannagan

Lisa Flanagan earns prestigious CAREER award from NSF — Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center researcher Lisa Flanagan has received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. The CAREER award is one of the NSF’s most respected grants, given to support the early-career development of teacher-scholars who effectively integrate research and education into their organizations. With the CAREER award, she will work to identify membrane characteristics of cells that will form neurons and astrocytes to improve their use in transplants to treat neurological injury and disease. The funding will also train the next generation of scientists in interdisciplinary research, utilizing engineering and biophysics to reveal new insights in biology. Her five-year award totals $830,000. To meet Lisa, click here.

Leslie Thompson

Leslie Thompson nabs NIH grant to start stem cell research training program — Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center researcher Leslie Thompson, one of the world’s leading Huntington’s disease investigators, has received a 5-year, $735,000 grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to establish a training program in stem cell translational medicine for neurological disorders. The program’s objective is to train a new generation of scientists in the translational application of stem cell biology to neuroscience. This proposed training program will be the first on campus specifically focused on three integrated areas: stem cells, neuroscience and translation to the clinic. To learn more about Leslie’s exceptional work, click here.

Maksim Plikus

Maksim Plikus’ hair study IDs optimum cancer radiation treatment time — Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center researcher Maksim Plikus, working with USC and Salk Institute scientists, found that the body’s own circadian rhythms – better known as the “body clock” – help control hair growth patterns, a finding that has significant implication on cancer treatments. The researchers found that test mice lost less hair receiving radiation treatments in the afternoon, instead of the morning, which points to a circadian cycle of hair growth. To learn more about Maksim’s innovative efforts, click here.


Stem Cell

Dramatic stem cell images displayed at community reception — Nearly three dozen giclée prints capturing the beauty of stem cells and their potential to treat many of life’s most debilitating diseases were unveiled at “Stem Cells Offer Hope,” an art exhibit and community reception held April 25 at Sue & Bill Gross Hall: A CIRM Institute. More than 100 guests stopped by to view the dramatic photographic prints and talk with the scientists behind the art about their research, which offers hope to people whose lives are challenged by spinal cord injury, diabetes, blindness and a host of other conditions. The stem cell gallery now decorates the walls of Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center. You can view the gallery on Flickr, click here.

Images are available for purchase. A portion of the proceeds may be considered a tax-deductible gift to the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center.  Contact Karen Kirkbride @ 949-824-1677 or for order information.


Systems Biology of Stem Cells symposium draws international attention — On June 9-11, the Second Symposium on Systems Biology of Stem Cells brought together more than 150 international researchers to UC Irvine, who explored the latest work dedicated to the intersection between systems biology and stem cell biology. Meeting activities included talks by invited speakers, a panel discussion on stem cell therapeutics and systems biology, a poster session, short talks selected from poster abstracts and a banquet. For more program information,  click here.

handy links

Learn more about stem cell basics here.
Learn more about stem cell research here.
Learn more about stem cell research in California here. Learn more about donating here.

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