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 R13 application seeks five years of sponsorship for an advanced training course entitled: Frontiers in Stem Cells and Regeneration (FrSCR) to be held annually at the MBL in Woods Hole under the Co- Directorship of Gerald Schatten (Pittsburgh) and Ken Muneoka (Tulane). FrSCR developed from our currently funded T15 award to offer Short-Term Courses in Human Embryonic Stem Cell research protocols, which we offered successfully 7 times during the past 6 years. FrSCR builds on the significant strengths and successes of the existing course, while expanded to incorporate important biomedical concepts in regeneration and pluripotency. This course continues to enable 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 intend to give the trainees the necessary knowledge of laboratory techniques, career mentoring and ethical legal societal impact 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. Provide training in the detailed methods for experimentation with regeneration and stem cells, including PSC and ASC, including culture methods, characterization, directed differentiation, and conceptual underpinnings of regeneration. This will include responsible conduct of research. 2. Provide trainees with specific opportunities to discuss career planning and collaboration with senior scientists to foster career development. 3. Educate trainees on the legal, ethical, and regulatory landscape in which regenerative medicine research occurs, so that trainees begin their research programs in the most ethical and responsible manner avoiding pitfalls and delays. 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 ten-day 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.
- Public Health Relevance 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 lack 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 will contribute to advances in the field by bringing together experts in the field as faculty and course trainees in an advanced, hands-on training course and thus contribute to the next generation of highly trained stem cell scientists.