SAN FRANCISCO, June 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF), which has supported more than 23 outstanding young stem cell scientists through its Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program, today announced a significant expansion of its efforts to cultivate the next generation of stem cell scientists by providing $24.5 million in funding to 17 Investigators to launch their own laboratories, train other scientists, and foster innovative high-risk/high-reward research to explore the therapeutic potential of stem cells derived from humans and model organisms. The Foundation unveiled details of its Innovator Awards Program for Early Career Investigators, a plan that will support scientists in the next phase of their career after post-doctoral work. The Foundation issued a Request for Applications (RFA) to scientists performing translational stem cell work. Each of the investigators will receive up to $1.5 million over five years to create labs and cultivate research that will explore the potential of stem cells to advance the understanding and treatment of human disease.
Investigators will be chosen by a four-member jury chaired by Douglas A. Melton, PhD, an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Dr. Melton is Chairman of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University and a member of NYSCF's Medical Advisory Board Executive Committee. Other members of the jury include:
- Dr. Irving Weissman, MD, Director of the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at the Stanford School of Medicine, where he is also the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor for Clinical Investigation and Cancer Research;
- Dr. Christine Mummery, PhD, Chair of the Department of Anatomy and Embryology at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, where she also serves on the Ethical Committee of the Netherlands Academy of Science and Ministry of Health. Dr. Mummery is also an Editor/Editorial Board Member of Stem Cell Research, Cell Stem Cells, and Differentiation; an elected member of the board of ISSCR; and President Elect of the International Society of Differentiation.
- Dr. Lorenz Studer, MD, Director of the Sloan-Kettering center for stem cell biology and a Professor in the Developmental Biology Program and the Department of Neurosurgery. He currently leads the steering committee of the Tri-Institutional stem cell initiative (Sloan-Kettering Institute, Weill-Cornell Medical School, and Rockefeller University).
NYSCF Chief Executive Officer Susan L. Solomon made the announcement at a press conference held in conjunction with the Eighth Annual Meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), along with Dr. Weissman and Dr. Studer, as well as Kevin Eggan, PhD, NYSCF Chief Scientific Officer and Associate Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine at Harvard University. Dr. Melton, who was unable to attend the press conference, said, "I'm delighted to be part of the selection process for this important new award. This is the kind of transformative program that can give the stem cell field the fuel to make scientific and medical advances all that much more quickly."
"The NYSCF Innovator Awards Program provides critical seed funding to outstanding early career scientists engaged in translational stem cell research at a critical juncture in their careers," said Ms. Solomon. "This funding will support the most promising and creative scientists as they focus on high-risk/high-reward stem cell-based research projects with the potential to accelerate the path from bench to bedside," she continued. "They will nurture a new generation of stem-cell scientists who will train other scientists. That is why this program has enormous potential to quickly transform the field of stem cell research and find cures that have eluded scientists for decades."
The deadline for applications is August 27, 2010, and the first five Early Career Investigators will be announced at NYSCF's Fifth Annual Translational Stem Cell Research Conference, which will be held on October 12-13, 2010 at The Rockefeller University in New York City.
To be eligible, candidates must have an M.D., Ph.D., or an equivalent degree; have completed post-doctoral training; demonstrated the ability to independently supervise staff and research; and shown true innovation for translation of basic science to a clinical setting. Submissions will be judged on the basis of a research proposal, each candidate's research accomplishments, significant publications and references. International investigators may apply, but research must be conducted in the United States. Early Career Investigators will have access to the NYSCF's laboratory and resources and the opportunity to present at the annual NYSCF conference.
Support for the NYSCF Innovator Awards program is provided by the Robertson Foundation and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. For more information on requests for application, visit www.nyscf.org.
About The New York Stem Cell Foundation:
The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) was founded in 2005 to accelerate cures for debilitating diseases through stem cell research. The Foundation conducts cutting edge research at its own independent laboratory and provides grants to outstanding investigators at other research institutions. NYSCF also invests in the next generation of stem cell researchers through its Post-doctoral Fellowship Program and its Innovator Awards Program, which support exceptionally promising early career scientists doing innovative translational stem cell research. The Foundation plays a vital role in educating both scientists and the public about stem cell research through an active annual program of conferences and symposia. For more information, visit www.nyscf.org.
SOURCE The New York Stem Cell Foundation