Pluripotent stem cells and regenerative medicine are rapidly emerging fields with enormous biomedical implications across the entire spectrum of NIH's clinical, translational, biomedical and behavioral portfolios. This new R25 application seeks five years of sponsorship for our advanced training course entitled: Frontiers in Stem Cells and Regeneration (FrSCR) held annually at the MBL in Woods Hole under the Co-Directorship of Jennifer Morgan (MBL) and Gerald Schatten (Pittsburgh). FrSCR developed from our currently funded U13 award, which we offered successfully at Woods Hole during the past years. FrSCR builds on the significant strengths and successes of the existing course, while expanded to incorporate emerging, important biomedical concepts and sophisticated technological breakthroughs in regeneration and pluripotency. This course enables participating trainees to start successful research programs in the fields of pluripotent stem cells (PSC) and regenerative medicine, including multipotent adult stem cells (ASC). We provide trainees the necessary knowledge of laboratory techniques, career mentoring and ethical legal societal impact (ELSI) of PSC research to greatly enhance their successful entry into this field. In order to achieve this goal, we propose the following specific aims: 1. To provide in-depth instruction on the fundamental concepts in stem cells and regeneration. 2. To provide hands-on training in the detailed methods for experimentation with stem cells and regeneration, using cutting-edge techniques. 3. To educate trainees on the open questions in the field, and how stem cells and regenerative biology can be used to solve problems related to human developmental and reproductive disorders. 4. To provide opportunities for career planning and advancement, and to educate trainees on the legal, ethical, and regulatory landscape in which regenerative medicine research occurs. 5. To foster a collegial, international environment, and to provide students with networking opportunities that lead to long-term interactions and collaborations. FrSCR is a dynamic and evolving entity that each year offers a fresh series of daily lectures on emerging concepts, followed by extended discussions, laboratory research, technologically intense workshops and informal seminars over a week-long period. The course is directed towards established investigators as well as advanced fellows and newly independent scientists who are committed to fundamental, translational or eventual clinical research studies. The course addresses major current problems, followed by critical discussions and laboratory experiments in which advanced new techniques are presented to explore these problems. Thus, this course will provide a significant benefit to biomedical research through the training of new investigators in the field of stem cells and regeneration.
Pluripotent stem cells and regenerative medicine hold enormous promises for understanding the root causes of diseases, as well as designing innovative strategies for treating disabilities and other disorders. The field is hampered by a lac of highly trained scientists with expertise in stem cell technological methods and the conceptual foundations of regeneration. The Frontiers in Stem Cells and Regeneration Course at the MBL in Woods Hole promotes advances in the field by bringing together faculty experts and trainees in an advanced, hands-on training course and thus contributes to the next generation of highly trained stem cell scientists.