Stem Cell Grant Called ‘Crucial’
UC Santa Barbara is one of 17 institutions in the state to be awarded a grant by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to construct laboratory facilities for stem cell research.
The institute’s governing board announced a total of $50 million in grants earlier this month. UCSB’s grant is for $2.26 million over three years and will be used to support the design and development of a shared laboratory to expand existing stem cell studies. It is also expected to stimulate new investigations of stem cell biology and engineering.
“The new, shared stem cell lab will be a crucial cornerstone for stem cell research at UC Santa Barbara and at neighboring institutions on the Central Coast,” said Dennis O. Clegg, professor and chair of the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. “Over 20 researchers from UCSB, Sansum Diabetes Research Institute, and Cottage Hospital have plans to use the facility, and it will allow us to use newer human embryonic stem cell lines that are federally restricted.”
The CIRM grants will help fund the design and renovation or construction of laboratory spaces as well as equipment for the new facilities and operating expenses. “We already have scientists who are ready to be leaders in stem cell research, but they need a dedicated laboratory designed for this purpose. This grant makes it possible to build such a laboratory very quickly,” said Michael Witherell, vice chancellor for research.
UCSB was also among the institutions to receive a grant from CIRM in 2006 for the training of pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, and clinical fellows.
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine was established in 2004 with the passage of Proposition 71, the $3-billion California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative.