Buck Institute Awarded $1.5 Million for Stem Cell Training

Three-year grant from California Institute for Regenerative Medicine
will bring six new postdoctoral fellows to the Buck

The Buck Institute for Age Research has been awarded $1,571,229 from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) for a research training program in stems cells and aging.  Approval of the training program came at today’s CIRM meeting. The program, which will bring new six postdoctoral PhD or MD scientists to the Buck, will focus on stem cells and aging and age-related disease, with a particular concentration in neurodegenerative disorders.

CIRM’s decision to fund the program follows a positive reassessment of CIRM finances. The Buck Institute’s proposed program was deemed scientifically meritorious by CIRM in January 2009, but monies were not available to fund the program.  Today CIRM officials said an improvement in the state’s bond situation made capital available to add the Buck’s request to $58 million CIRM approved for training programs in January. “We want to thank you for the excellent program that you are running at the Buck,” said Robert Klein, Chair of the Governing Board of CIRM, just prior to today’s unanimous vote approving the funding.

Buck faculty Xianmin Zeng, PhD is Associate Program Director of the training program. “Our focus on aging and its diseases will provide stem cell scientists who will devote their careers to developing practical clinical applications of this technology,” said Zeng, who testified at today’s meeting.  “We provide a very unique environment for postdoctoral fellows,” said James Kovach, MD, JD, COO and President of the Buck Institute, who mentioned the Institute’s collaborative research environment. “This program will amplify stem cell training by including the focus on aging.”   Recruitment for the six new postdoctoral fellows will begin immediately.

About the Buck Institute:
The Buck Institute is the only freestanding institute in the United States that is devoted solely to basic research on aging and age-associated disease. The Institute is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to extending the healthspan, the healthy years of each individual’s life.  The National Institute on Aging designated the Buck a “Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Biology of Aging,” one of just five centers in the country.  Buck Institute scientists work in an innovative, interdisciplinary setting to understand the mechanisms of aging and to discover new ways of detecting, preventing and treating conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke.  Collaborative research at the Institute is supported by new developments in genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics technology.

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