URMC Receives $4.5 Million in NYS Stem Cell Grants

March 25, 2010

The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) has received a total of $4.5 million in funding from the Empire State Stem Cell Board for research in neurological disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and bone repair.  

“Stem cell and regenerative medicine represents one of the scientific foundations of the Medical Center’s strategic plan for growth in biomedical research,” said Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of URMC. “These grants represent critical resources necessary to advance our understanding of stem cells and bring these discoveries into new therapies for a host of diseases.”

Berk is also a member of Funding Committee of the Empire State Stem Cell Board.

The awards to URMC were part of $34.7 million in grants recently announced by Governor David Paterson.  To date, URMC scientists have received $8.1 million in research grants from the Empire State Stem Cell Board.

URMC scientists receiving funding were:

  • Abdellatif Benraiss, Ph.D. (Neurology): research involving gene therapeutic strategies to activate and mobilize endogenous neural stem and progenitor cells, as a means of treating Huntington’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
  • Steve Goldman, M.D., Ph.D. (Neurology): research to identify the expression patterns of the major categories of stem and progenitor cells of the adult human brain and to use that information to define the signaling pathways that distinguish one progenitor from another, as well as those that distinguish brain tumor stem and progenitor cells from their normal counterparts.
  • Mark Noble, Ph.D. (Biomedical Genetics): research to identify the mechanism in glioblastoma multiforme cells (tumor initiating cells responsible for a form of brain cancer) that make it resistant to chemotherapy and identify molecular targets that will enable therapies to overcome that resistance.  
  • Archibald Perkins, M.D., Ph.D. (Pathology and Laboratory Medicine): research to identify unique molecular features of the leukemic stem cell that are targets for therapy with the goal of identifying an effective method to treat acute myeloid leukemia
  • Tirumalai Rangasamy, Ph.D. (Medicine): research involving the use of mesenchymal stem cells for the repair and regeneration of tissues damaged by pulmonary emphysema, one of the major pathological abnormalities associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Jun Sun, Ph.D. (Medicine & Microbiology and Immunology): research to understand the role of bacterial regulation of intestinal stem cells initiation, growth, and death and exploration of the molecular mechanism of this regulation in models of bacterial infection and colon cancer.

  • Xinping Zhang, M.D., Ph.D. (Orthopedics): research involving use of the state-of-the-art imaging technology to evaluate the use of nanofiber-based scaffolds as a platform to enhance mesenchymal stem cells-based bone repair and regeneration.
  • Yi Zhang, Ph.D. (Pathology and Laboratory Medicine): research to evaluate protein interactions involved in the regeneration of the blood supply that are believed to also be responsible for making leukemia stem cells resistant to chemotherapy and identify new therapeutic targets.

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