You are here

Empire State Institutional Training Programs in Stem Cell Research for Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Fellows - 2016

RFA # 1602260415

Institution Program Director (PD) Amount Title
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Michael Rendl $1,817,750 Training Program in Stem Cell Biology
New York University School of Medicine Ruth Lehmann $1,769,845 Training Program in Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology
Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research Lorenz Studer $2,025,000 Sloan Kettering Institute Postdoctoral Training Program in Stem Cell Biology
Weill Medical College of Cornell University Todd Evans $1,999,185 Weill Cornell Training Program in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine


Training Program in Stem Cell Biology
Michael Rendl, M.D.
Co-PD: Thomas Zwaka, M.D., Ph.D.
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

The overarching aim of this Training Program in Stem Cell Biology is to educate the next generation of stem cell scientists to tackle outstanding questions in stem cell biology and unsolved problems in regenerative medicine. Mount Sinai has been committed towards this goal for several years since the foundation of the Black Family Stem Cell Institute (BFSCI). Under the new leadership of Dr. Thomas Zwaka, the BFSCI team of stem cell researchers has grown to eighteen investigators who pursue interdisciplinary research projects in basic and translational stem cell science. This NYSTEM Training Program in Stem Cell Biology will be jointly led by Dr. Zwaka and Dr. Rendl, Co-Director of the Developmental and Stem Cell Biology graduate program at Mount Sinai. From a pool of excellent candidates from diverse backgrounds, 3 predoctoral students and 3 postdoctoral trainees will be selected in coordination with the program’s internal Steering Committee for training in highly successful laboratories of carefully selected BFSCI faculty mentors. The mentors have robust funding, many directly from NYSTEM research awards; they have high-quality publications and an excellent record of training pre-and postdoctoral candidates. The trainees will be embedded in a rigorous didactic educational program that includes two dedicated stem cell courses, a stem cell-focused journal club and seminar series, the BFSCI work-in-progress meetings, and training in responsible conduct of research and scientific writing. They will perform first-rate stem cell science thereby laying the foundation for their independent career in stem cell research. An external advisory committee will oversee and evaluate the Training Program’s success. This integrated Training Program at Mount Sinai and BFSCI will directly contribute towards NYSTEM’s mission of advancing stem cell research by training the next generation of stem cell scientists.

Back to Top


Training Program in Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology
Ruth Lehmann, Ph.D.
Co-PDs: Elaine Wilson, Ph.D., Glenn Fishman, M.D., Esteban Mazzoni, Ph.D.
New York University School of Medicine

The aim of this training program is to prepare a new generation of scientists who have an in depth understanding of stem cell biology and who will conduct cutting edge research in this rapidly evolving field. The specific goals of this program are to provide rigorous training in stem cell biology within a highly collaborative research environment. This application wishes to continue a successful previous five-year training period, which trained a total of 10 graduate students and 10 postdoctoral fellows, who published 45 research articles. The new program builds on the strength of the existing program and will provide research-based training, expertise to critically evaluate results, and career development skills. Exposure to both basic and clinical aspects of stem cell biology through coursework and scientific interactions will equip trainees to embark on productive careers in stem cell biology. We request positions for three graduate students and three postdoctoral fellows. Trainees will be selected from a pool of highly qualified candidates, based on their performance, with special consideration given to trainees from underrepresented minorities. A dedicated administration will oversee training efforts and track trainees. Forty faculty research mentors have been selected based on their stem cell focused research, funding and quality of publications. Mentors have a stellar record in training pre- and postdoctoral candidates who have gone on to successful independent careers. The research interests of the faculty provide an intellectually diverse range of stem cell studies. These include the basic molecular mechanisms by which stem cells exhibit plasticity, maintain tissues and organ homeostasis, stem cell-based etiology of diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and nervous system disorders, and identification of new therapeutic approaches including stem cell-based regeneration of organ function.

Back to Top


Sloan Kettering Institute Postdoctoral Training Program in Stem Cell Biology
Lorenz Studer, M.D.
Co-PD: Viviane Tabar, M.D.
Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research

The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) has a long-standing tradition in stem cell research. Over the last few years, several initiatives have further strengthened stem cell research at the institution including financial support for collaborative projects, the establishment of outstanding stem cell core facilities, NYSTEM support for pursuing the first in human pluripotent cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease and the establishment of the Center for Stem Cell Biology (CSCB) which serves as a hub to coordinate efforts in stem cell biology including training. The NYSTEM training grant is led by Dr. Studer (PD: CSCB director) and Dr. Tabar (Co-PD). Training slots for 5 postdoctoral trainees are requested, which is made possible by the commitment of the institution to waive tuition costs and minimize salary requests for faculty.  A detailed training program is presented that covers basic and applied stem cell research, offers practical training in human ESC/iPSC technology, and organizes scientific colloquia, internal and external lecture series and career development seminars. A carefully selected group of 11 research mentors assists the PD and Co-PD in the training efforts.  Procedures for rigorous oversight and evaluation are set in place including assessment of program by a very strong external advisory board. The current application capitalizes on our experience from the highly successful past (2011-16) NYSTEM training program and proposes to further strengthen opportunities in rapidly evolving areas of clinical translation, bioinformatics and biostatistics training and in the use of genome engineering technologies. There is strong commitment of the institution as illustrated by the support of the training program via bridge funds to keep the momentum going through 2016-2017. Continued support by NYSTEM starting in 2017 will allow us to further adapt the programs to the changing needs of the future to train the next generation of leaders in the stem cell field.

Back to Top


Weill Cornell Training Program in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine
PD: Todd Evans, Ph.D.
Co-PDs: Shahin Rafii, M.D. and Joseph Scandura, M.D.
Weill Medical College of Cornell University

We propose further development of an integrated training program for PhD students and postdoctoral fellows focused on gaining expertise in stem cell biology and career development in regenerative medicine, at a major research institution, committed to translation of basic stem cell biology to cure diseases. The program is designed to build upon our experience directing a previous NYSTEM-funded training program that has exploded interest in stem cell biology on our campus. The trainees will carry out hands-on stem cell research with leaders in the field, focused on a wide variety of target diseases having potential for stem cell-based therapeutics. A major advantage of the proposed program is the ability of the trainees to benefit from additional in-house NYSTEM-funded initiatives, in particular a large consortium-based translational program to cure sickle cell disease, and a disease modeling facility using pluripotent stem cells, directed differentiation, and gene editing approaches. The PD and co-PDs direct these other initiatives and are also leaders of the stem cell community at Weill Cornell. We have a strong track record of training stem cell biologists, with established courses, ongoing seminar series bringing experts onto campus to interact with trainees, and a solid training infrastructure through the Weill Cornell Graduate School. The PD and co-PDs are joined by a productive group of 27 additional faculty trainers, with stem cell biology expertise across a wide range of interests. We request funding for 4 PhD students and 3 postdoctoral fellows, who will train within our community of interacting stem cell biologists including faculty, medical students, PhD students, MD/PhD students, postdoctoral fellows, and residents. New features will be added to enhance collaborations and generate expert training advisory committees with mentors from related fields, including new courses/workshops, such as “Transition to Research Independence", and workshops oriented around NYSTEM-funded initiatives on our campus.

Back to Top