USC launches Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research Initiative

Stem cells (Image courtesy of Justin Ichida)
Stem cells (Image courtesy of Justin Ichida)

A new USC initiative has been introduced to support collaborative research in regenerative medicine and stem cell biology across the university, facilitating the critical move from basic research into clinical applications.

The USC Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research Initiative — spearheaded by Keck School of Medicine Provost Professor Andrew McMahon — will draw on existing research strengths and develop these strengths through strategic collaborations that reflect the imperative of working across academic units and campuses in order to successfully harness the promise of regenerative medicine.

The initiative includes the launching of a new website covering stem cell and regenerative medicine research across the university, and the launch of a new research team award program to support regenerative medicine research at USC.

“I am delighted to have a website that connects across our campuses and departments to forge new collaborations and opportunities,” McMahon said, “and to make our collective efforts in regenerative more visible to the general public, scientists, doctors and students.”

To jumpstart the USC Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research Initiative, Carmen A. Puliafito, dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, has put forward $1.2 million for a new set of seed programs, available to interdisciplinary research efforts involving groups of faculty from across multiple schools at USC. The awards are open to USC faculty of any rank or type.

“There is no doubt that stem cell research will play a critical role in developing tomorrow’s medical breakthroughs,” Puliafito said. “The Keck School of Medicine is committed to supporting multi-disciplinary science across the university that shows promise for one day helping patients at the bedside.”

The USC Regenerative Medicine Initiative 2013 Keck School of Medicine Research Team Awards will support regenerative medicine research in disease areas for which USC already has core strength, including cancer research, neural and sensory research, musculo-skeletal research, research on the respiratory and circulatory systems, and research on the digestive and metabolic systems. Research areas may include, but are not limited to, preclinical trial studies, stem cell biology, tissue engineering, organ regeneration and developmental mechanisms.

Letters of intent are due March 17, 2013. Successful proposals will be awarded up to $200,000 for the first year, with the possibility to renew for the second year upon review and approval by the executive committee. Applications must provide a realistic plan for sustained funding or support beyond the end of the award, and must also demonstrate that the award will make a difference in attracting further research support.

To support the university-spanning mission of the USC Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research Initiative, USC has launched a new website gathering together information about faculty, research and facilities in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, drawing on rich content from across the university and its affiliated institutions, including the Keck School of Medicine, the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, USC Viterbi School of Engineering, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the House Research Institute and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

The website  features the latest stem cell news from USC and the wider research community, a calendar of events, and video interviews with stem cell researchers.

Mentioned in this article: Andrew P. McMahon, PhD, FRS