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UC Riverside granted $5 million for stem cell research training

A $5 million grant will be used to train students in stem cell research to contribute towards new stem cell-based therapeutics.

Embryonic stem cells

The University of California (UC) Riverside, US, has received a $5 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state’s stem cell agency, to train young scientists and physicians in stem cell research. The aim of the grant is to create a future generation of researchers who can contribute to the creation of new knowledge in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.

The Inland Empire, encompassing Riverside and San Bernardino counties, is one of the most highly diversified and medically underserved areas in California. The region has a critical need for stem cell researchers and is poised to introduce stem cell therapies to the citizens of the Inland Empire and beyond.

“We would like to increase the number and diversity of highly qualified doctoral students and postdoctoral level scientists trained in stem cell biology in the California workforce and to provide trainees with the communication skills they need to be successful,” explained Prue Talbot, the five-year grant’s principal investigator.

Talbot explained that the training will be offered through an interdisciplinary programme named Training Program to Advance Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Research, Education and Workforce Diversity (TRANSCEND) and will emphasise diversity, inclusion and equality. 

Fourteen graduate programmes on campus will provide mentors for the trainees. Mentors will offer research training in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine in the areas of bioengineering; neuroscience and neurodegenerative disease; prevention and treatment of birth defects and reproductive failure.

TRANSCEND will train 16 doctoral students, 11 postdoctoral researchers and provide three core graduate-level courses as well as two seminars each year of the grant’s duration. TRANSCEND will also offer an annual stem cell symposium and provide activities such as community outreach, travel to scientific meetings, interaction with patients and advocates and opportunities to interact with researchers at the School of Public Policy and the School of Medicine’s Center for Health Disparities. Trainees will be educated in stem cell biology, engineering, bioethics and science to policy.

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“Cross training in the life sciences, biomedical sciences and engineering will greatly benefit our trainees… We will build on UCR’s excellent record of recruiting, retaining and training disadvantaged students from areas with unmet medical needs,” added Talbot. “Our trainees will be well prepared to contribute to the California workforce, while at the same time augmenting its diversity. Discoveries made by TRANSCEND trainees will benefit Californians by leading to new therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices for managing diseases, trauma and the quality of life.” 

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