CIRM Research Training Program II

CIRM Research Training Program II

Funding Type: 
Research Training II
Grant Number: 
TG2-01169
Award Value: 
$7,898,444
Status: 
Active
Public Abstract: 
Our Type I, Comprehensive Training Program will train basic scientists, engineers, and physicians to become leaders in stem cell research in academia and industry. The Stem Cell Research Center will coordinate the training of 5 pre-doctoral, 6 post-doctoral, and 5 clinical Scholars, each of whom will acquire (a) a thorough and critical background in stem cell biology, (b) an understanding of human disease and regenerative medicine, and (c) knowledge of how to translate basic research findings to the clinic. [REDACTED] provides state of the art research opportunities and mentoring for training Scholars in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine as evidenced by the past success of their publication of important papers in Nature, Blood, PNAS, Cancer Research, Cell Stem Cell, and Stem Cells. Scholars achieve the program goals through a coordinated approach integrating: 1) Coursework: A 10-week course on ‘Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine’ includes lectures and discussion of organogenesis, derivation and maintenance of human embryonic stem cells (hESC), induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), various tissue specific stem cells, clinical trials, and the social, legal, and ethical aspects of stem cell research; 2) Seminars/Symposia: Attendance at symposia, conferences, and seminars featuring leading stem cell scientists and required presentations of their own research in a bi-weekly Center hosted Stem Cell Club; and 3) Research: Scholars devote the majority of their time to stem cell laboratory research with faculty who are leaders in cell and molecular biology, bioengineering or clinician-scientists who are applying the latest advances in gene medicine, cell-based therapies, and organ transplantation to patient care. The training faculty, whose ranks were further enhanced in the last three years by the recruitment of 11 new stem cell biology faculty, are based in the College of Letters and Science and Schools of Engineering and Medicine, and collaborate in a multidisciplinary environment. Together, these training opportunities offer clinician Scholars, many of whom simultaneously pursue a PhD degree, basic research training and experience and biomedical scientists and bioengineers knowledge of human disease and the translation of basic research to the clinic. Our focus on bench to bedside translational research builds upon an existing infrastructure supporting multiple core laboratories for derivation and distribution of hESC and iPSC, thereby ensuring trainee access to research materials, and state of the art facilities such as a FDA compliant Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) suite and CIRM sponsored Good Tissue Practice Shared Research Laboratories. The facilities, on a compact urban campus (<1 square mile), are augmented by a nearly completed building campaign that will add ~640,000ASF, of new campus based life sciences and engineering laboratories that includes a CIRM sponsored Major Facility Institute.
Statement of Benefit to California: 
Our Type I Comprehensive Training Program will provide major benefits to California by: (1) increasing the number of scientists and clinicians with the qualifications to assume positions in California universities; (2) creating a high-level work force for California biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies; (3) providing the incentive for companies to re-locate to California in order to take advantage of the pool of scientists, engineers, and physicians trained in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine; and (3) developing novel therapeutic strategies with the potential to address the growing health care needs of the citizens of California. As a major biomedical research and education institution and the 7th largest employer in the State with associated economic activity generating more than $1.2 billion annually in local, state and federal taxes, the campus provides world-class infrastructure supporting a scientific enterprise generating greater than $900 million annually in extramural research funding. Each dollar of taxpayer investment in the campus generates almost $15 in economic activity, resulting in a $9.3 billion positive impact on the regional economy. Our integrated laboratory and classroom training program gives trainees an in-depth understanding of the scientific, clinical, and ethical aspects of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine that will drive laboratory advances to the bedside and the treatment of human disease. This in turn offers the potential to develop new approaches to treat intractable chronic conditions, thereby reducing health care costs.
Progress Report: 

Year 1

The goal of the UCLA CIRM training program is to identify and train the next generation of leaders in stem cell biology. In order to meet this goal, we select the most qualified trainees, require that they complete a rigorous course in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, and provide them with state of the art laboratory training. In order to select the best trainees, the availability of CIRM training grant slots is announced each spring and applicants are invited to submit a short letter of intent. Because we receive up to 7 applications for every available training grant position, a small subset of these applicants is invited to submit a full application. Each letter of intent and full application is reviewed by three Broad Stem Cell Research Center Members, along with the training grant director, and five pre-doctoral, six post-doctoral, and 5 clinical fellows are appointed each spring. In addition to the quality of the applicant, the strength of the faculty mentor is also a major selection criterion. Following appointment as a CIRM fellow, each trainee receives rigorous laboratory training with a focus on how to define scientific questions, design experiments to answer them, and formulate the results into scientific publications. Our trainees have published their research results in leading, high impact journals that include Cell, Cell Stem Cell, and Genes and Development. In addition, each CIRM fellow is required to attend a 45 hour graduate level course in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine designed specifically for the CIRM training program. The initial course sessions include lectures on human embryology, the generation and manipulation of human embryonic stem cells, and induced pluripotent stem cells. The focus of the next block of lectures is on mesenchymal stem cells, cancer stem cells, and how principles evolving from engineering and nanotechnology can be applied to stem cell biology. The course also includes lectures on hematopoietic stem cells, neural stem cells, lung stem cells, prostate stem cells, cardiac stem cells, and muscle stem cells. Finally, the last group of lectures provides training in ethics, regulatory affairs, and intellectual property. As part of the course, each CIRM pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, and clinical trainee presents a 30 minute talk in which they provide the background, current findings, and future direction of their research. This allows the training grant Director, who coordinates the course and attends every course meeting, the opportunity to review the performance of each CIRM trainee. Since initial receipt of the UCLA CIRM training grant award in 2006, 23 pre-doctoral, 22 post-doctoral, and 25 clinical fellows have been trained. Many of the pre-doctoral fellows have graduated and are now pursuing post-doctoral training at major stem cell laboratories at Harvard University, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Several post-doctoral trainees have assumed faculty positions at major domestic universities, such as the University of Wisconsin, as well as international institutions that include Tsinghua University in Beijing and Fuzhou University in Fujian Provence, China where they are now directing their own independent research laboratories. Our clinical fellows, who because of their CIRM training are well poised to translate their research to patients, are now faculty members at leading institutions that include Ohio State University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, UCLA, and UCSF. Finally, our trainees are also staff scientists at Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology companies such as Sigma Aldrich and Takeda Pharmaceuticals in San Francisco where they are poised to develop stem cell based therapeutics. Thus, as a result of the training they have received under the auspices of the UCLA CIRM training grant, our pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, and clinical fellows have assumed important positions at major international, national, and California institutions. In the latter case, our former trainees are now providing mentorship, research, and clinical training to the next generation of Californian’s with interests in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.

Year 2

The goal of the UCLA CIRM training program is to identify and train the next generation of leaders in stem cell biology. In order to meet this goal, we select the most qualified trainees, require that they complete a rigorous course in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, and provide them with state of the art laboratory training. The availability of CIRM training grant positions is announced each spring and applicants are invited to submit a short letter of intent (LOI). We receive up to 7 LOIs for each training grant slot. A small subset of LOI applicants is invited to submit a full application, and trainees are chosen from this latter group. Each LOI and full application is reviewed by three Broad Stem Cell Research Center Members, along with the training grant director, who assess the quality of the applicant and the strength of the faculty mentor. Five pre-doctoral, six post-doctoral, and 5 clinical fellows are appointed each spring. Following appointment as a CIRM fellow, each trainee receives rigorous laboratory training with a focus on how to define scientific questions, design experiments to answer them, and formulate the results into scientific publications. Our trainees have published their research results in leading, high impact journals that include Cell, Cell Stem Cell, and Genes and Development. In addition, each CIRM fellow is required to attend a 45 hour graduate level course in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine designed specifically for the CIRM training program. The initial lectures focus on human embryology, the generation and manipulation of human embryonic stem cells, and induced pluripotent stem cells. The next block of lectures focuses on specific types of stem cells that include mesenchymal stem cells, cancer stem cells, hematopoietic stem cells, neural stem cells, lung stem cells, prostate stem cells, cardiac stem cells, cartilage stem cells and/or muscle stem cells. Finally, the last group of lectures provides training in ethics, regulatory affairs, and intellectual property. As part of the course, each CIRM pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, and clinical trainee presents a 30 minute talk in which they provide the background, current findings, and future direction of their research. This allows the training grant Director, who coordinates the course and attends every course meeting, the opportunity to review the performance of each CIRM trainee. Since initial receipt of the UCLA CIRM training grant award in 2006, 23 pre-doctoral, 22 post-doctoral, and 25 clinical fellows have been trained. Many of the pre-doctoral fellows have graduated and are now pursuing post-doctoral training at major stem cell laboratories at Harvard University, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Several post-doctoral trainees have assumed faculty positions at major domestic universities, such as the University of Wisconsin, as well as international institutions that include Tsinghua University in Beijing and Fuzhou University in Fujian Provence, China where they are now directing their own independent research laboratories. Our clinical fellows, who because of their CIRM training are well poised to translate their research to patients, are now faculty members at leading institutions that include Ohio State University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, UCLA, and UCSF. Finally, our trainees are also staff scientists at Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology companies such as Sigma Aldrich and Takeda Pharmaceuticals in San Francisco where they are poised to develop stem cell based therapeutics. Thus, as a result of the training they have received under the auspices of the UCLA CIRM training grant, our pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, and clinical fellows have assumed important positions at major international, national, and California institutions. In the latter case, our former trainees are now providing mentorship, research, and clinical training to the next generation of Californian’s with interests in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.

© 2013 California Institute for Regenerative Medicine