June 7, 2007

Salk Institute receives a $2.3 million stem cell research facility grant

Salk News

Salk Institute receives a $2.3 million stem cell research facility grant

La Jolla, CA – The Salk Institute for Biological Studies was awarded a $2.3 million share of the stem cell research facilities grants approved by the governing board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) on June 5.

At the Salk, the grant will support the development of shared laboratory space to be used by multiple investigators, and provide an environment for scientific research on human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) under CIRM’s medical and ethical standards. The grant will also provide funds for equipment and operating expenses over three years.

“The availability of this shared research laboratory will allow Salk researchers to initiate research on human embryonic stem cells and to contribute to this very exciting field of biology,” says Program Project Director Inder Verma, Ph.D., a professor in the Laboratory of Genetics, who spearheads the stem cell facility project at the Salk Institute.

“The Salk faculty is also very grateful for the invaluable expertise and help during the planning stages provided by Garry Van Gerpen, senior director of Facility Services, and his staff members, who are the ones who ultimately make it happen,” Verma said.

To date, the Salk Institute has received more than $7.5 million in stem cell research grants from CIRM. Earlier this year, Salk professor Fred H. Gage received $2.9 million for research to develop methods of turning hESCs into neural stem cells; and professors Senyon Choe, Beverly Emerson and Sam Pfaff received seed funding totaling $2.28.

The latest round of CIRM grants, totaling more than $50 million, will finance construction of shared research laboratories at 17 academic and non-profit institutions for the culture of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), particularly those that fall outside federal guidelines. (Current federal policy prohibits research involving hESCs isolated after August 2001 from being conducted in laboratories constructed with any federal funding). These facilities are scheduled to be complete and available to researchers within six months to two years of the grant awards.

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to fundamental discoveries in the life sciences, the improvement of human health and the training of future generations of researchers. Jonas Salk, M.D., whose polio vaccine all but eradicated the crippling disease poliomyelitis in 1955, opened the Institute in 1965 with a gift of land from the City of San Diego and the financial support of the March of Dimes.

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