Newswise — The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) announced today the award of $3.79 million to the Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham) for development of a collaborative shared laboratory and expansion of the Institute's training courses in stem cell research. Burnham was one of 17 institutions receiving grants from CIRM for a total of more than $50 million.
CIRM's competitive research grants have significantly expedited human embryonic stem cell research activity at Burnham through the award of eight SEED grants (totaling $5.9 million) and two comprehensive grants (totaling $6 million) earlier this year. The funding announced today will make it possible to develop a shared laboratory providing cell culture and core services to accommodate Burnham's increased demand. This shared laboratory will also support Burnham's partner institutes collaborating as the San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine (SDCRM), eliminating overlap in strategic technological areas and maximizing CIRM's investment in San Diego's stem cell research community.
The funding will also allow Burnham to expand its training program, offering a series of basic and advanced courses on stem cell techniques for colleagues at SDCRM, the San Diego research community at-large and throughout California. Since 2004, the Institute has organized an annual intensive two-week training course attracting scientists worldwide.
The shared laboratory and CIRM stem cell training program will be directed by Dr. Jeanne Loring, Co-Director of Burnham's Stem Cell Center. Loring, an embryologist and pioneer in stem cell culture techniques is editor of the first authoritative source in this field," Human Stem Cell Manual: A Laboratory Guide" , published this month by Academic Press.
"My colleagues and I at Burnham were among the first to share knowledge through training courses in stem cell biology," said Dr. Loring. "Our efforts to date have been supported through private donations and, as permitted, public grants. This award from CIRM will significantly advance the Institute's standing as a global leader for research and training in stem cell research."
Dr. Evan Snyder, Director of the Stem Cell Center and Director of the Institute's Program in Stem Cells and Regeneration, will serve as Associate Director of the CIRM-funded shared laboratory.
CIRM was established in 2004 with the passage of Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative. The statewide ballot measure, which provides for allocation of $3 billion over 10 years in funding for stem cell research at California universities and research institutions, was approved by California voters, and called for the establishment of an entity to make grants and provide loans for stem cell research, research facilities, and other vital research opportunities.
Burnham's research is anchored in a Program on Stem Cells and Regeneration established in 1997 to develop a focus on the medical potential of the emerging field of human embryonic stem cell research. Since 2005, the Institute has earned recognition by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as an "Exploratory Center for Stem Cell Research," one of six centers nationwide, and California's only such center. Burnham also holds one of seven grants awarded from NIH for human embryonic stem cell training.
Burnham is a collaborative partner of the San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine (SDCRM), founded in March 2006 together with UC San Diego, The Scripps Research Institute and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies as a non-profit entity to expand San Diego's collaborative work in stem cell research.
Burnham Institute for Medical Research conducts world-class collaborative research dedicated to finding cures for human disease, improving quality of life, and thus creating a legacy for its employees, partners, donors, and community. The La Jolla, California campus was established as a nonprofit, public benefit corporation in 1976 and is now home to three major centers: a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center, the Del E. Webb Center for Neurosciences and Aging, and the Infectious and Inflammatory Disease Center. Burnham today employs more than 750 people and ranks consistently among the world's top 20 organizations for the impact of its research publications. In 2006, Burnham established a center for vascular mapping and bionanotechnology in Santa Barbara, California. Burnham is also establishing a campus at Lake Nona in Orlando, Florida that will focus on diabetes and obesity research and will expand the Institute's drug discovery capabilities, employing over 300 people. For additional information about Burnham and to learn about ways to support its research, visit http://www.burnham.org.