CIRM awards $2.4 million training

By John Watson

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has awarded the J. David Gladstone Institutes a $2.4 million grant to create a CIRM Scholars Training Program focusing on stem cell research. The training grant, part of CIRM’s first-ever round of awards, enables Gladstone to develop and implement an intensive stem cell-specific curriculum for ten postdoctoral fellows over a three-year period.

Gladstone Institutes President Robert W. Mahley, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine and pathology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), will serve as the director of the CIRM Scholars Training Program. Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease Associate Investigator Bruce Conklin, MD, a UCSF associate professor of medicine and cellular and molecular pharmacology, will serve as associate director.

In cooperation with a wide spectrum of universities and colleges throughout Northern California, Gladstone will develop a core curriculum of required and elective courses spanning a variety of stem cell research disciplines. Participating institutions include University of California campuses in San Francisco, Berkeley, Davis, and Santa Cruz, as well as San Francisco State University and the Children’s Hospital of Oakland Research Institute.

The Gladstone Institutes, an independent, nonprofit medical research institution affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), conducts basic research into the causes of three of the most significant medical problems of modern times: cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS, and neurodegenerative disorders. Each of these research areas involves promising targets for regenerative medicine:

* The Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease studies cardiac development, stem cell biology, genetics, lipid metabolism, and vascular responses

* The Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology conducts a full range of basic and clinical research on HIV and AIDS

* The Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease uses basic scientific approaches to study major disorders of the nervous system, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, mental retardation, and stroke

Over the 26 years of its history, Gladstone has trained more than 300 postdoctoral scholars. In a national survey by The Scientist earlier this year, Gladstone was rated as the 12th top institutional work environment for U.S. life sciences postdoctoral fellows in 2005 (123 institutions were ranked).

The CIRM is a state agency that was created by the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act, a ballot measure passed by 59 percent of California voters in November 2004. Over the next 10 years, the CIRM will disburse almost $3 billion in state bond funds to investigators at California universities and research institutions for stem cell research. Research funded by the CIRM will focus on understanding the fundamental mechanisms related to stem cells and how they apply to the development of disease. All proposals are peer-reviewed to focus on the most promising science.

For further details about the Gladstone Institutes, visit Gladstone .