Funding opportunities

No Title

Funding Type: 
Major Facilities
Grant Number: 
FA1-00608
Funds requested: 
$0
Funding Recommendations: 
Not recommended
Grant approved: 
No
Public Abstract: 
The Stem Cell Unit will focus on host-pathogen interactions at the level of the stem cell. At present, this is an understudied but critical area. We must have viral gene delivery systems that are safe and effective in stem cells. We must be able to determine if viral infection (for gene delivery) affects stem cell properties including proliferation, differentiation, homing, and engraftment. For instance, quiescent hematopoietic stem cells are highly resistant to infection by some bacteria and viruses, but are very sensitive to others. In most cases it is unknown whether infected stem cells will be able to function normally in the host. Most humans are colonized with multiple long-lived viruses in addition to a variety of bacteria that could become reactivated and infect transplanted stem cells. It is important to understand the ability of infected stem cells to transmit the infection to immune sanctuaries such as the brain. Even in the absence of direct infection of the stem cells, the presence of an ongoing host response to infection may modulate stem cell behavior. The investigators of Stem Cell Unit will address these important questions in cell-based and animal models. Our institution has an outstanding team of microbiologists addressing host-pathogen interactions in stem cells and other tissues, and who are developing new viral vectors for gene therapy that will effectively target stem cells. One of the leading investigators in cardiac stem cell therapy is piloting a novel therapeutic approach to cardiac repair. Another team has established a sensitive animal model to detect the role of stem cells in normal cell turnover in the heart. Using this model they are poised to determine if ‘benign’ childhood infections reduce the number of stem cells in the heart, resulting heart failure later in life. Our institution is the largest source of trained workers for the vibrant biotechnology industry in the region. Training with faculty engaged in stem cell research is the primary modality by which students gain this important expertise. The Stem Cell Unit will provide a state-of-the-art research environment including space for much-needed core facilities. It will create a desirable environment for potential faculty recruits, allowing us to build a stronger academic program at our institution. The discoveries made in the Stem Cell Unit may lead to new tools for gene therapy, better methods for stem cell therapy, and a detailed understanding of how the presence of infection may affect the success of stem cell therapy in patients. Research in the Stem Cell Unit, which is focused on the effects of infection and inflammation on stem cell function, will lead to new insights in stem cell biology and human disease.
Statement of Benefit to California: 
The Stem Cell Unit will focus on host-pathogen interactions at the level of the stem cell. At present, this is an understudied but critical area. We must have viral gene delivery systems that are safe and effective in stem cells. We must be able to determine if viral infection (for gene delivery) affects stem cell properties including proliferation, differentiation, homing, and engraftment. Most humans are colonized with multiple long-lived viruses in addition to a variety of bacteria. These formerly quiescent pathogens may become reactivated upon stem cell transplantation, and potentially could target the stem cells themselves. Since stem cells can be immune privileged, it is important to understand the ability of infected stem cells to perpetuate the infection and to carry it to immune sanctuaries such as the brain. Even in the absence of direct infection of the stem cells, the presence of an ongoing host response to infection may modulate stem cell behavior. The investigators of the Stem Cell Unit will address these important questions in cell-based and animal models. Our institution has an outstanding team of microbiologists addressing host-pathogen interactions in stem cells and other tissues, and who are developing new viral vectors for gene therapy that will effectively target stem cells. We have one of the leading investigators in cardiac stem cell therapy who is piloting a novel therapeutic approach to cardiac repair. Other cardiac investigators have established a sensitive physiologic model to detect the role of stem cells in normal cell turnover in the heart, and are poised to determine if ‘benign’ childhood infections limit stem cell reserve, with resulting cardiac dysfunction later in life. Our institution is the largest source of trained workers for the vibrant biotechnology industry in the region. Expertise in stem cell methodology will become increasingly important. Training with faculty engaged in research is the primary modality by which students gain this experience. The Stem Cell Unit will provide a state-of-the-art research environment including space for much-needed core facilities. The availability of construction funds will enable us to allocate other resources towards the purchase of the sophisticated equipment that will be required. It will create a desirable environment for potential faculty recruits, allowing us to build a stronger academic program at our institution. The citizens of California will benefit from the discoveries made in the Stem Cell Unit, and the students that graduate from our institution will be better equipped to make productive contributions to the growing biotechnology industry of our state, thereby ensuring that California continues to lead the field.
Review Summary: 
Conflicts: 

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