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Empire State Institutional Training Programs in Stem Cell Research for Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Fellows - 2010

RFA # 0906290930

Institution PI Amount Title
New York University School of Medicine Ruth Lehmann $1,884,320 Training Program in Stem Cell Biology
Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research Lorenz Studer $1,863,000 Research Training in Stem Cell Biology
University of Rochester Mark Noble $1,781,977 Stem Cell Training Programs at the University of Rochester
Weill Medical College of Cornell University Shahin Rafii $1,869,721 Weill Cornell Training Program in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

Training Program in Stem Cell Biology

Ruth Lehmann, 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 program will provide research-based training in the scientific method, expertise to critically evaluate results and the scientific literature, 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.  These positions will strengthen our competitiveness to attract the best trainees.  From a pool of highly qualified candidates, trainees will be selected for this training grant based on their performance, with special consideration given to trainees from underrepresented minorities.  A dedicated administration will oversee training efforts and track trainees.  Faculty research mentors have been rigorously selected based on their funding and quality of publications.  They 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 including the molecular mechanisms by which stem cells exhibit plasticity, maintain tissues and organs, and contribute to disease such as cancer.  This research also encompasses stem cell-based restoration of organ function in a variety of degenerative conditions and new therapeutic approaches for a variety of cancers.  This training grant will enable us to offer an outstanding training environment to a select group of highly qualified and motivated trainees, equipping them for successful careers in the rapidly expanding field of stem cell biology.

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Research Training in Stem Cell Biology

Lorenz Studer, M.D.
Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research

The Sloan-Kettering institute has a long-standing tradition in stem cell research.  Over the last few years, several major initiatives have further strengthened the resources available for stem cell research.  These include financial support from the Starr foundation to support collaborative stem cell projects within the Tri-institute.  Other important developments are the establishment of the Center for Cell Engineering and the Center for Stem Cell Biology (CSCB).  These collaborative research centers form an integrated research effort in stem cell biology enabling faculty recruitment, enhancement of facilities and training program.  The NYSTEM training program is led by Dr. Studer, the founding director of the CSCB.  Trainings slots for five postdoctoral trainees are requested, which was made possible by the commitment of the institution to waive applicable tuition costs.  A detailed training program will be offered that covers basic and applied aspects of stem cell biology, offers practical training in human ESC/iPSC technology, and organizes scientific colloquia and internal and external lecture series and career development seminars.  A carefully selected core group of eight research mentors will assist the PI in the training effort.  Procedures for oversight and evaluation of the program are set in place including assessment of the program by internal and external advisory boards.  The application takes advantage of the unique resources available at our institute ranging from basic developmental biology and genetic lineage tracing to pluripotency, directed differentiation, stem cell engineering, chemical/genetic screening and regenerative medicine including clinical grade cell processing.  The broad set of expertise available combined with a focused and highly interactive training effort should enable a unique postdoctoral training experience.  The availability of an integrated stem cell training program is critical for the development of the next generation of stem cell scientists able to transcend traditional departmental boundaries and harness the full potential of stem cell biology for biomedical applications.

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Stem Cell Training Programs at the University of Rochester

Mark Noble, Ph.D.
University of Rochester

The goals of the University of Rochester Stem Cell Training Program are to encourage young scientists to pursue a career in stem cell science and to provide the training required for success in this pursuit.  This program will provide support for four graduate students and two postdoctoral fellows, with graduate students eligible for participation after completion of their course work and the qualifying examination required for them to be eligible to pursue a PhD.  Applicants will be evaluated by a Steering Committee composed of senior faculty with extensive experience in relevant disciplines and in mentoring research trainees.  Trainees will be provided the opportunity for training in multiple relevant disciplines including (but not limited to):  discovery of novel stem and progenitor cells, analysis of the molecular control of cell division and differentiation, promotion of tissue repair through cell transplantation or recruitment of endogenous precursor cells, integrated utilization of stem/progenitor cells with biomaterials, analysis of stem/progenitor cell biology in model organisms, development of novel mathematical approaches for analysis of stem/progenitor cell function, stem cell ethics and stem cell education.  Along with developing specialized areas of expertise, participants in the program will benefit from the extensive expertise available within the University of Rochester Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Institute (SCRMI).  In addition to the training associated with the trainee’s laboratory research, this program will provide instruction in fundamental principles of stem cell science, the means by which discoveries can be translated to the clinic, in ethical implications of stem cell research and in means of sharing such information with non-scientists.  Funding of this program will enable the SCRMI to develop a specifically-focused stem cell training effort that will enhance our ability to attract applicants to take advantage of the extensive opportunities and training in stem cell science available on this campus.

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Weill Cornell Training Program in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

Shahin Rafii, M.D.
Weill Medical College of Cornell University

The proposed program will directly contribute to the goal of NYSTEM and the ESSCB as it will integrate support for research training with the instrumentation and vivarium previously supported through NYSTEM awards.  Interdisciplinary research projects within the institution are centered on both the basic and clinical applications of stem cells.  The PI has additional support from NYSTEM through an Investigator Initiated award to fully integrate this Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Training program with the scientific and translational environment of the Ansary Stem Cell Institute.  The intended program is an interdisciplinary program integrating stem cell scientists with great training history who are leaders in their fields, well funded and equipped, with personnel and space resources at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences Program.  The lead PI and Co-PIs, Drs. Rafii, Rosenwaks and Evans are directors of Ansary Stem Cell Institute and of Tri-Stem Cell Initiative human embryonic stem cell laboratory, and will incorporate Stem Cell Research Training programs in Regenerative Medicine, Cancer Cell Biology and Physiology, Neuroscience, Stem Cell Therapy from seven out of its nine well-established Programs of Study. Combined, these programs include 18 faculty members involved in stem cell research with strong collective experience mentoring pre- and post-doctoral trainees.  We have added five junior faculty members and four contributors.  We will encourage participation in the training program by pre- and postdoctoral individuals from diverse backgrounds interested in pursuing investigative careers.  We expect our trainees to become future leaders in the stem cell sciences and medicine.  Eligible pre- and postdoctoral trainees will be selected by the program directors based on their promise of excellence.  We seek support for a total of three predoctoral students and three postdoctoral trainees.

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