Research Areas

Section 1

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Eye
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Neurotrauma
  • Neuro-rehabilitation
  • Skin
  • Tissue Engineering

Stem cell research is in the early stages of transforming the treatment of human disease. The positive effects of stem cell treatment are yet to be realized, as are potential benefits.

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine are leading the world in application of stem cells to treat neurological disorders and injuries such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease and spinal cord injury. Our scientists have developed stem cell-based treatments that reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s in animal models, have enabled rats with spinal cord injuries to walk again, are developing cell therapies to treat Huntington’s Disease, and are about to begin a clinical trial to use bone marrow stem cells to treat stroke.

The University of California, Irvine has received over $57 million in funding from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the fourth highest total in the state, some of which was matched with private funding to create the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center – a place where stem cell investigators across campus can come together to accelerate research towards treatments for these debilitating diseases.


Innovative Research: strengthen our standing as a leading international institution in stem cell research and clinical application, building on our leadership in developing treatments for neurological disorders.

Clinical Trials: develop and implement clinical trials whereby discoveries made in the laboratory are rapidly translated to treatments and tested in humans.

Interdisciplinary Collaboration: bring together scientists from across the campus, ranging from biology and medicine to engineering and chemistry, to work on therapies and biomedical devices that will allow human beings to finally put their body’s own regenerative mechanisms to use for treating disease.

Civic and Community Engagement: increase public awareness of, and education about, stem cell research, and communicate how UC Irvine is leading the advancement of the use of stem cells in the treatment of neurological disorders which will inform the treatment of many other diseases and injuries.

Philanthropic Support: provide scientists with support to speed up the pace of research. For many diseases or injuries there is no cure and for those patients the clock is ticking. Private support can also make our labs more competitive for obtaining Federal and state research funding. Such support can be leveraged and acts as seed funding to bring much more funding to the research effort.


  • First-in-human with stem cell based therapies for spinal cord injury
  • First Federally-approved embryonic stem cell based therapy to go to clinical trial
  • First neural stem cell based therapy for chronic spinal cord injury to go to clinical trial
  • Neural stem cell-based treatment for Alzheimer’s disease effective in animals
  • Pluripotent cells made from Huntington’s disease patients’ skin biopsies used to identify new targets for drug screening
  • Pluripotent cells made from muscular dystrophy patients which will allow a better understanding of how the disease develops and could one day be treated
  • Islet transplantation method developed for treating diabetes is approved to go to clinical trial
  • Developing stem cell treatments for retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration, two devastating causes of blindness
  • Bone marrow stem cell treatment for stroke approved for clinical trials