The investigators propose to establish a new interdisciplinary predoctoral training program in Stem Cell Biology at the University of Minnesota. The Stem Cell Institute at the University of Minnesota was established in 1999 and forms a strong hub for a broad spectrum of stem cell-based research. 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 predoctoral trainees to enable them to develop successful stem cell-focused research careers. To achieve this aim, this proposed training program has assembled 25 outstanding faculty members from both biomedical science and engineering departments. Research opportunities involve a full-spectrum of work on animal and human models utilizing both pluripotent stem cells as well as adult tissue-specific stem cells. Faculty in this program have expertise in the full range of disciplines that are required to advance the stem cell research field, including: basic developmental biology, molecular biology/gene therapy, cell biology, immunology, biomedical engineering, clinical and veterinary medicine, as well as bioethics. Trainees in this program will complete graduate-level courses in stem cell biology, as well as related courses such as developmental biology. A central part of the training will be to engage in a research project in stem cell biology, and participate in Stem Cell Institute research conferences, journal clubs, and symposia. Trainees will be selected by the program Steering Committee on a competitive basis. Faculty members from ten different graduate programs are to mentor a strong pool of predoctoral trainee candidates. Together, these components will provide the comprehensive training in stem cell biology required to address the need for investigators with the knowledge and expertise to move forward both the basic biological studies of stem cells and translation to novel stem cell-based clinical therapies.
Stem cell biology provides the opportunity 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, malignancies, and cardiovascular injury.
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