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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                 Connecticut Department of Public Health

Tuesday, April 2, 2008                        Contact: William Gerrish

                                            (860) 509-7270                         



HARTFORD  --  The State of Connecticut Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee yesterday directed the allocation of $9.84 million in stem cell research funds to investigators based in Storrs, Farmington and New Haven.


This is the second installment of grants from the Stem Cell Research Fund, established by the Connecticut General Assembly and signed into law by Governor M. Jodi Rell in 2005. Between now and 2015, the committee is tasked with allocating approximately $100 million in order to encourage stem cell research in Connecticut.


“While other states are cutting back on their financial commitments to stem cell research, Connecticut remains at the forefront of investing in and supporting cutting edge research in this emerging field,” said the Governor. “Connecticut once again proves itself as a nurturing and supportive environment where a variety of stem cell research can move forward safely, ethically and effectively, with an eye toward investing in the overall improvement of the public health of future generations.”


Eighty-seven stem cell funding applications were accepted for consideration in November 2007. From December through February, a 14-member Connecticut Stem Cell Peer Review Committee reviewed these applications in accordance with National Institutes of Health guidelines and provided to the Advisory Committee its recommendations with respect to the scientific merits of each application.


“It has always been the intent of the Connecticut Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee to fund the best stem cell research proposals that Connecticut scientists can offer,” said Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee Chairman and Department of Public Health Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, M. D., M. P. H., M. B. A. “After careful consideration and review by both an international panel of experts and by this Advisory Committee, we are confident that we have been true to our charge, and that these investments will yield significant scientific findings in the long-term.”


In its first round of funding in November 2006, the committee directed the allocation $19.78 million to 21 stem cell projects at Yale, UCONN and Wesleyan University.


 “The stem cell research that this year’s grant recipients will undertake is meaningful to the state not only because of its potential public health benefits but also because it may lead to significant economic development in Connecticut,” said Peter Longo, president and executive director of Connecticut Innovations, which assists with administration of the Stem Cell Research Fund.  “It is our hope that the scientific findings of the research will be refined for market introduction by existing and new Connecticut bioscience companies, helping further expand our growing bioscience sector.”


These stem cell grant allocations are expected to fund the following projects:


Maintaining and Enhancing the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Core at the Yale Stem Cell Center, Yale University Stem Cell Center, New Haven, Haifan Lin, PhD, Principal Investigator, $1,800,000.00.


Traslational Studies in Monkeys of hESCs for Treatement of Parkinson’s Disease, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, D. Eugene Redmond, Jr., MD, Principal Investigator, $1,120,000.00.


Establishing the Connecticut Therapeutic Cloning Core Facility – From Startup Technology/Feasibility Tests to SCNT/ntESC Derivation Services, Evergen Biotechnologies, Inc., Storrs, Jang-Won Lee, Principal Investigator, $900,000.00.


Production and Validation of Pateint-Matched Pluipotent Cells for Improved Cutaneous Repair, University of Connecticut Center of Regenerative Biology, Storrs, Theodore Rasmussen, PhD., Principal Investigator, $634,880.00.


Tyrosone Phosphorylation Profiles Associated with Self-Renewal and Differentiation of hESC, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Bruce Mayer, PhD., Principal Investigator, $450,000.00.


Directed Differentiation of ESCs into Cochlear Precursors for Transplantation as Treatment of Deafness, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, D. Kent Morest, MD, Principal Investigator, $450,000.00.


Targeting Lineage Committed Stem Cells to Damaged Intestinal Mucosa, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Daniel W. Rosenberg, PhD., Principal Investigator, $450,000.00.


Modeling Motor Neuron Degeneration in Spinal Muscular Atrophy Using hESCs, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Xuejun Li, PhD., Principal Investigator, $450,000.00.


Human Embryonic and Adult Stem Cell for Vascular Regeneration, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Laura E. Niklason, MD, PhD, $450,000.00.



Effect of Hypoxia on Neural Stem Cells and the Function in CAN Repair, Yale University, New Haven, Flora M. Vaccarino, Principal Investigator, $449,771.40.


Wnt Signaling and Cardiomyocyte Differentiation from hESCs, Yale University, New Haven, Dianqing Wu, Principal Investigator, $446,818.50.


Flow Cytometry Core for the Study of hESC, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Hector Leonardo Aguila, PhD., Principal Investigator, $250,000.00.


Cortical neuronal protection in spinal cord injury following transplantation of

dissociated neurospheres derived from human embryonic stem cells, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Masanori Sasaki, MD, PhD, Principal Investigator, $200,000.


Molecular Control of Pluripotency in Human Embryonic Stem Cell, Yale Stem Cell Center, New Haven, Natalia Ivanova, Principal Investigator, $200,000.00.


Cytokine-induced Production of Transplantable Hematopoietic Stem Cells from Human ES Cells, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Laijun Lai, PhD, Principal Investigator, $200,000.00.


Functional Use of Embryonic Stem Cells for Kidney Repair, Yale University, New Haven, Lloyd G. Cantley, Principal Investigator, $200,000.00.


VRK-1-mediated Regulation of p53 in the Human ES Cell Cycle, Yale University, New Haven, Valerie Reinke, Principal Investigator, $200,000.00.


Definitive Hematopoitic Differentiation of hESCs under Feeder-Free and Serum-Free Conditions, Yale University, Caihong Qiu, PhD, Principal Investigator, $200,000.00.


Differentiation of hESC Lines to Neural Crest Derived Trabecular Meshwork Like Cells – Implications in Glaucoma, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Dharamainder Choudhary, PhD., Principal Investigator, $200,000.00.


The Role of the piRNA Pathway in Epigenetic Regulation of hESCs, Yale University, New Haven, Qiaoqiao Wang, PhD., Principal Investigator, $200,000.00.


Early Differentiation Markers in hESCs: Identification and Characterization of Candidates, University of Connecticut Center for Regenerative Biology, Storrs, Mark G. Carter, PhD., Principal Investigator, $200,000.00.


Regulation hESC-dervied Neural Stem Cells by Notch Signaling, Yale University, New Haven, Joshua Breunig, MD, Principal Investigator, $188,676.00.