This is the first competitive renewal of the interdisciplinary pre-doctoral training program in Stem Cell Biology at the University of Minnesota. As the field of Stem Cell Biology continues to rapidly expand, significantly more trained investigators are needed to address both the basic biological questions in this field, as well as translate new stem cell-based therapies to clinical medicine. The overall aim of this Stem Cell Biology Training Program is to foster the career development of outstanding pre-doctoral trainees to enable them to develop successful stem cell-focused research careers. The Stem Cell Institute at the University of Minnesota forms a strong hub for a broad spectrum of stem cell-based research and educational opportunities to achieve this aim. This training program includes 21 outstanding faculty members from 8 different graduate programs and 9 different departments to provide research opportunities in a full-spectrum of animal and human models utilizing both pluripotent stem cells, as well as adult/tissue-specific stem cells. Faculty n this program have expertise in the full range of stem cell-related disciplines, including: cell biology, developmental biology, molecular biology, genetics/epigenetics, immunology, biochemistry, biomedical engineering, clinical and veterinary medicine. Trainees in this program complete graduate-level courses in Stem Cell Biology, as well as related courses such as molecular biology and developmental biology. A key part of the training is to engage in a research project in Stem Cell Biology, as well as participate in Stem Cell Institute research conferences, journal clubs, and symposia. The program Steering Committee selects Trainees on a competitive basis from a pool of excellent candidates- typically there are 2-3 times more applicants then training slots available. The quality of research and success of the Trainees reflects the outstanding research environment, where faculty are highly invested in the success of the pre-doctoral students.
Stem cell biology incorporates studies of basic cellular, genetic and developmental mechanisms that mediate normal and disease biology. This interdisciplinary field provides the opportunity to translate these basic biological mechanisms to produce new cell-based therapies to better treat and cure a range of diseases caused by cell and tissue degeneration or injury. These diseases consist of many where there are currently no good curative options, including but not limited to diabetes, Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders, bone marrow failure, malignancies, and cardiovascular injury.
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