Researchers in the lab of CIRM grantee Dr. Donald Kohn
Researchers in the lab of CIRM grantee Dr. Donald Kohn

The impact of 15 years of CIRM funding at UCLA

Between April 2006 and September 2020, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine awarded UCLA researchers 120 grants totaling more than $307 million
By Tiare Dunlap | Oct 22, 2020 Center News

In November 2004, California voters approved Proposition 71, which established the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and authorized the issuance of $3 billion in state general obligation bonds to provide funding for stem cell research and facilities in California. CIRM’s mission is to accelerate stem cell treatments to patients with unmet medical needs. 

Between April 2006 and September 2020, the agency awarded UCLA researchers 120 grants totaling more than $307 million. Here is a by-the-numbers look at the impact of this funding:

51 basic biology grants supporting projects seeking critical insights into the basic mechanisms underlying stem cell biology, cellular plasticity and cellular differentiation. These research projects aim to inform future therapies for dozens of conditions including heart disease, genetic and blood disorders, cancer, spinal cord injuries and neurological disorders.

3 consecutive three‐year training grants that supported 146 year‐long training fellowships for graduate students, post‐doctoral and clinical fellows working in UCLA laboratories.

  • This program was so successful that the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center funded 26 additional fellowships to supplement CIRM’s support during the 9‐year grant period.
  • After CIRM’s training grant ended, the center continued the program through philanthropic support. To date, the center's stem cell training program has provided 280 year‐long fellowships to train the next generation of stem cell researchers. 

5 COVID‐19 Related Grants supporting promising discovery, preclinical and clinical trial stage projects that could quickly advance treatments to patients in need.  

  • As of October 2020, center scientists have received five of 17 CIRM awards for COVID‐19 research, the most provided to any individual institution.

38 Clinical – Translational Research Grants

  • One grant to establish the UCLA‐UCI Alpha Stem Cell Clinic: This first‐of‐its‐kind collaboration accelerates the implementation of clinical trials and delivery of stem cell therapies by providing world‐class, state‐of‐the‐art infrastructure to support clinical research.
  • 19 translational stage awards designed to move promising basic research in stem cell science toward the clinic.
  • 10 disease team interdisciplinary collaborative awards to support multidisciplinary teams’ translational research for the development of stem cell‐based therapies for AIDS, sickle cell disease, solid tumors, stroke, melanoma, immune system deficiencies and muscular dystrophy.
  • 8 grants supporting clinical trials of novel treatments for: 

8 new faculty awards to encourage and foster the next generation of clinical and scientific leaders in stem cell research. Recipients include: 

CIRM funding supported UCLA research on many conditions, including the following: 


One major facilities grant to fund the establishment of the Broad Stem Cell Research Center‐ California Institute for Regenerative Medicine Laboratory on the 3rd floor of the Terasaki Life Sciences Building.

Two grants to establish the shared research laboratories: 4,700 assignable square feet of multi‐investigator laboratory space for the experimental manipulation and ultimate clinical application of human pluripotent stem cells.

Two new cell line awards to help scientists develop and apply innovative approaches that will produce new and previously unavailable human pluripotent stem cell lines:

  • Generation of pluripotent cell lines from human embryos
  • Generation of clinical grade human induced pluripotent stem cells

One patent assistance fund award to help ensure CIRM grantees preserve intellectual property positions that are intended to enhance the marketability of CIRM‐funded inventions and make downstream investment and development more likely.

Eight grants to support conferences, including: the annual symposium of the CIRM Alpha Stem Cell Clinics (ASCC) Network, California ALS Summit, a UC System‐wide Bioengineering Conference and Stem Cells: a New Avenue for HIV Research