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CIRM awards USC, CHLA $6.4 million for stem cell research

by Jennifer Chan

The Keck School of Medicine and Childrens Hospital Los Angeles have been awarded a total of $6.4 million in Shared Research Laboratory Grants from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

These grants will fund dedicated laboratory space and equipment for multiple researchers and institutions to share for unrestricted stem cell research.  USC’s grant also includes funding to develop an educational course in current protocols in stem cell research.

CIRM’s advisory panel strongly recommended funding for USC’s laboratory space.

“We are very pleased that our USC faculty at the Keck School and at Childrens Hospital fared well in securing these most recent grants from CIRM,” said Brian Henderson, Keck School of Medicine dean.  

“The grants complement our hard work in developing strong programs and recruiting an outstanding team of scientists. The funding will help develop vitally important facilities that are needed for stem cell investigation and the eventual translation of new discoveries to patient care.”

Childrens Hospital Los Angeles received $2.8 million to build a 3,000-square-foot centralized laboratory area that will be housed at the hospital’s Smith Research Tower. The area will include four tissue culture rooms with positive pressure air handling, four shared equipment rooms, storage space and an office space.

Physicians and researchers at Childrens Hospital hold joint appointments at the Keck School.

Approximately $3.6 million will go to USC’s Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (CSCRM). A 1,500-square-foot research laboratory will be housed on the USC Health Sciences Campus in the new Harlyne J. Norris Cancer Research Tower.

The laboratory space will include seven tissue culture workstations, each with its own biosafety cabinets, incubators, microscopes and ancillary equipment.

“The grants will enable USC to provide researchers with comprehensive support through training, research materials and space for pilot and collaborative research,” said Martin Pera, director of CSCRM. “We are excited to be recognized for our dedication in advancing stem cell research. We hope the facilities will encourage researchers, especially those new to stem cell research, to undertake pilot projects and generate preliminary data.” Pera is also a professor of cell and neurobiology at the Keck School of Medicine.

News of the Shared Research Laboratory Grants comes as USC continues planning for the new Broad Institute building on the USC Health Sciences Campus, which will eventually house the stem cell research center.

CIRM was established when voters passed Proposition 71 in 2004 to borrow and spend $3 billion over 10 years to support stem cell research. Including the two recent awards, USC and Childrens Hospital have received more than $17.9 million in stem cell grants from CIRM.

Earlier this year, USC and Childrens Hospital researchers received approximately $5.9 million from CIRM to fund scientists new to stem cell research and to support ongoing studies by scientists with a record of accomplishment in the field.

CIRM awards USC, CHLA $6.4 million for stem cell research

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