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Northwestern Is Center for Stem Cell Research

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October 11, 2005

CHICAGO --- Northwestern University has been awarded a $3.6 million grant and named a Center of Excellence in Translational Human Stem Cell Research by the National Institutes of Health.

Northwestern University was one of two institutions to receive the prestigious NIH Center of Excellence grant.

The two Centers of Excellence will bring together stem cell experts, disease experts and other scientists to explore ways human stem cells may be used in the future to treat a wide range of diseases, such as blood cancers and blood disorders, kidney disease and neurological disorders.

The principal investigator at Northwestern is John A. Kessler, M.D., chair of the Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurological Sciences and Benjamin and Virginia T. Boshes Professor of Neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Kessler will direct research on the factors that influence the differentiation of human embryonic stem cells and projects to look at combining unique biomaterials and human embryonic stem cells as a possible means to repair damaged spinal cords.

Kessler’s co-investigators on the Center of Excellence grant are: Robert D. Goldman, Stephen Walter Ranson Professor and chair of cell and molecular biology at the Feinberg School; Thomas Meade, professor of chemistry, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; Jame Hulvat, research assistant professor of materials science and engineering, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; and Samuel Stupp, Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry and Medicine. Laurie Zoloth, director of Bioethics, Center for Genetic Medicine, and Professor, Medical Ethics and Humanities, Feinberg School, is ethics consultant on the grant.

The NIH mandated that the Stem Cell Centers of Excellence develop new technologies to substantially advance the state of the art in using stem cells to approach a particular disease.

The centers are designed to encourage formation of new groups of investigators and partnering with clinicians to conduct stem cell research for disease-specific applications, and increase the pool of professional scientists with disease-specific expertise who work in stem cell biology.

Topics: Research