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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE         Connecticut Department of Public Health

Wednesday, April 1, 2009                     Contact:  William Gerrish

                                                              (860) 509-7270



Hartford  --  The State of Connecticut Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee yesterday directed the allocation of $9.8 million in stem cell research funds to investigators based in New Haven, Middletown, Farmington and Storrs.


This allocation is the third 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 2005 and 2015, the committee is tasked with allocating approximately $100 million in order to encourage stem cell research in Connecticut.


“The possibilities for health care therapies from this cutting-edge research are limitless, and I am proud that Connecticut continues to make this investment in its future,” Governor Rell said.


Seventy-seven stem cell funding applications were accepted for consideration in December 2008.  From January through March, a 15-member Connecticut Stem Cell Peer Review Committee considered these applications in accordance with National Institutes of Health guidelines and provided to the Advisory Committee its recommendations for the awards, which will be allocated based upon available funding.


“As a result of this investment, Connecticut’s academic research centers have recruited outstanding scientists, established world-class facilities, engaged in critical research efforts, and achieved important scientific success,” said Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee Chairman and Department of Public Health Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, M. D., M. P. H., M. B. A.  Due to these successes, the State of Connecticut has also solidified its place in the national and international stem cell communities and become a true center of excellence for stem cell research.”


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


Continuing and Enhancing the UCONN-Wesleyan Stem Cell Core, University of Connecticut Stem Cell Center, Farmington, Ren-He Xu, MD, PhD, Principal Investigator, $1,900,000.00.


Williams Syndrome Associated TFII-I Factor and Epigenetic Marking-Out in hES and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Dashzeveg Bayarsaihan, PhD., Principal Investigator, $500,000.00.


Cellular transplantation of neural progenitors derived from human embryonic stem cells to remyelinate the nonhuman primate spinal cord, Yale University, New Haven,

Jeffrey Kocsis, PhD., Principal Investigator, $500,000.00.


Mechanisms of Stem Cell Homing to the Injured Heart, University of Connecticut Health Center, Linda Shapiro, PhD., Principal Investigator, $500,000.00.


Genome-wide screen to identify hESC-specific DNA transcription elements, Yale University, New Haven, Richard Sutton, MD, PhD., Principal Investigator, $500,000.00.


Molecular function of Lin28 in human embryonic stem cells, Yale University, New Haven, Yingqun Huang, MD, PhD., Principal Investigator, $500,000.00.


Therapeutic differentiation of regulatory T cells from iPS and hES for immune tolerance, University of Connecticut Health Center, Zihai Li, MD, PhD., Principal Investigator, $500,000.00.


Prevention of Spontaneous Differentiation and Epigenetic Compromise of Human ES and iPS Cells, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Theodore Rasmussen, PhD., Principal Investigator, $499,956.00.


Development of iPS cells to study craniometaphyseal dysplasia in humans, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Alex Lichtler, PhD., Principal Investigator, $500,000.00


piggyBac Transposon for Genetic Manipulation and Insertional Mutagenesis in Human Embryonic Stem Cells, Yale University, New Haven, Tian Xu, PhD., Principal Investigator, $500,000.00.


Brain Grafts of GABAergic Neuron Precursors Derived from Human and Mouse ES Cells for Treating Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Janice Naegele, PhD., Principal Investigator, $499,988.00.


MicroRNA regulation of hESC fates, Yale University, New Haven, Jun Lu, PhD., Principal Investigator, $500,000.00.


Molecular profiling and cell fate potential of hESC-derived early neural crest precursors, Yale University, New Haven, Martín I García-Castro, PhD., Principal Investigator, $200,000.00.


Neural Stem Cell Responses to Hypoxia, Yale University, New Haven, Qi Li, PhD., Principal Investigator, $200,000.00.


Induction and differentiation of beta cells from human embryonic stem cells, Yale University, New Haven, Kevan Herold, MD, $200,000.00.


Evaluation of homologous recombination in hESC and stimulation using viral proteins, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, April Schumacher, PhD., Principal Investigator, $200,000.00.


Transcriptional control of keratinocyte differentiation in human ES cells, Yale University, New Haven, Valerie Horsley, Principal Investigator, PhD., $200,000.00.


Novel response to RNA editing in human embryonic stem cells, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Ling-Ling Chen, Principal Investigator, PhD.,$200,000.00.


A human cell culture model of Angelman syndrome for drug screening, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Stormy Chamberlain, PhD., Principal Investigator, $200,000.00.


Can Natural Neuromodulators Improve the Generation of Nerve Cells From Human Embryonic Stem Cells?, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Srdjan Antic, MD, Principal Investigator, $200,000.00.


Investigating the role of nuclear RNA quality surveillance in embryonic stem cells, Yale University, New Haven, Sandra Wolin, MD, PhD., Principal Investigator, $200,000.00.


The Influence of Aberrant Notch Signaling on Rb Mediated Cell Cycle Regulation in Megakaryopoiesis & Acute Megakaryoblastic Leukemia, Yale University, New Haven, Stephanie Massaro, MD, Principal Investigator, $200,000.00.


Derivation and Functional Characterization of Heart Cells from Human Embryonic Stem Cells, Yale University, New Haven, Yibing Qyang, PhD., Principal Investigator, $200,000.00.


Hybrid Peptide/RNA Molecules for Safe and Efficient Gene Silencing in Human Embryonic Stem Cells, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Yong Wang, PhD., Principal Investigator, $200,000.00.



The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state.  To contact the department, please visit its website at or call (860) 509-7270.