Gladstone launches stem cell training program, names scholars

By John Watson

The J. David Gladstone Institutes has launched a California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Scholars Training Program and has named the program’s first seven participant trainees. Inauguration of the program was spurred by CIRM’s announcement today of distribution of the first third of $2.4 million grant to Gladstone to implement a three-year, stem cell-specific curriculum for 10 postdoctoral fellows.

“We’re honored and excited to be part of this historic first round of CIRM grants,” said Gladstone Institutes President Robert W. Mahley, MD, PhD. “Our commitment to this promising area of research and to training the next generation of researchers will only be strengthened by our involvement in this program.”
Mahley will serve as the director of the program, and Gladstone Institutes Associate Investigator Bruce Conklin, MD, will serve as associate director. The trainees named today are Gladstone postdoctoral fellows Edward Hsiao, Kathryn Ivey, Jin-A Lee, Gang Li, Laura Saunders, Whittemore Tingley and Yong Zhao. Another three participants will be named in subsequent years, for a total of 10 trainees.
Last September, the Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee (ICOC), which governs CIRM, announced approval of the first grant proposals submitted for the $12.5 million CIRM Training Program in Stem Cell Research, a three-year program to train pre-doctoral, post-doctoral and clinical fellows at 16 institutions across the state. CIRM awarded three levels of awards-comprehensive, intermediate and specialized-accommodating 169 trainees in programs at small and
large institutions throughout California. The Gladstone Institutes applied for and received funding for an “intermediate” award.

Designed to take advantage of the different strengths of California research institutions, the CIRM program has the goal of educating scholars from a variety of scientific backgrounds, ranging from computation and molecular biology to nanotechnology and clinical medicine. All programs are required to offer at least one course in stem cell biology and disease as well as a course in the social, legal and ethical implications of stem cell research.

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 the University of California campuses in San Francisco, Berkeley, Davis, and Santa Cruz, as well as San Francisco State University and the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute.

All required and elective courses will be closely coordinated with UCSF programs to facilitate synergies and minimize duplication. The scholars will take a newly designed core
course on the ethics of research, as well as a long-established “Ethics and Responsible Conduct of Science” course at UCSF.

CIRM was established in 2004 with the passage of Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative. The statewide ballot measure, which provided $3 billion in funding for stem cell research at California universities and research institutions, was approved by California voters and called for the establishment of an entity to make grants and provide loans for stem cell research, research facilities, and related research opportunities.

The J. David Gladstone Institutes, affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), is dedicated to the health and welfare of humankind through research into the causes and prevention of some of the world’s most devastating diseases. UCSF is a leading university that consistently defines health care worldwide by conducting advanced biomedical research, educating graduate students in the life sciences, and providing complex patient care. Information about the
Gladstone Institutes is available at www.gladstone.ucsf.edu.

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