Three scientists with the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA were awarded more than $5.3 million in state grants today to develop innovative tools and technologies that will help overcome the technical hurdles in advancing basic, translational and clinical stem cell research.

Dr. Richard Gatti, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, will receive a two-year, $1,833,054 grant to use Ataxia-Telangiectasia (A-T), an inherited neurodegenerative disease found in children, as a model to study the mechanisms that lead to neurodegeneration and to develop a drug that can slow or halt the damage.

Dr. Thomas Carmichael, an associate professor of neurology, will receive a two-year, $1,825,613 grant to develop tissue bioengineering systems for a stem cell therapy to treat stroke that seeks to circumvent one major treatment bottleneck: the inability of most stem cell therapies to survive and repair the injured brain.

Dr. Martin Martin, a professor of pediatrics and gastroenterology, will receive a two-year, $1,783,250 grant to study the causes of several disorders that result in severe, and often times fatal forms of diarrhea in children.

The grants were among 20 awarded Thursday to researchers at 10 institutions by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state agency that administers Proposition 71 funding for stem cell research. Part of the Tools and Technologies II Awards, the grants support the development and evaluation of innovative tools and technologies that will help researchers overcome road blocks in stem cell research. The awards were given to scientists to either create new tools and technologies or expand on existing tools or technologies that have shown promise.

To date, scientists at the Broad Stem Cell Research Center have received 43 grants from CIRM totaling more than $140.5 million.

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