Four UCLA scientists were awarded state stem cell grants totaling $5.42 million today to fund research that will uncover the basic mechanisms underlying stem cell biology.

The grants – 12 awarded in all – represent an effort by the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to build a foundation that will support future research designed to translate stem cell science from the lab bench to the patient’s bedside.

UCLA scientists were awarded a third of the basic biology grants given out by CIRM, and the university received the most grants given to any stem cell research center in the state. To date, UCLA and its stem cell scientists have received 29 grants totaling $68 million in funding from the state agency.

“It is wonderful to see the breadth and quality of stem cell basic science at UCLA recognized by the awarding of these four grants in the latest round of CIRM awards,” said Dr. Owen Witte, director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research. “Research supported by these grants will propel future translational and clinical advances, enabling us to realize the full potential of human stem cells in the development of new, more effective therapies for a host of diseases.”

UCLA researchers receiving basic biology grants include Luisa Iruela-Arispe, a professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology, who was awarded $1.37 million; Dr. Robb MacLellan, an associate professor of medicine, who was awarded $1.37 million; Bennett Novitch, an assistant professor of neurobiology, who was awarded $1.36 million; and Dr. Michael Teitell, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, who was awarded $1.32 million. All are scientists with the Broad Stem Cell Research Center.

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