The State of Connecticut Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee last week directed the allocation of $19.78 million in stem cell research funds to researchers from Yale, Wesleyan and the University of Connecticut.

This is the first installment of grants from the Stem Cell Research Fund, established by the Connecticut General Assembly and signed into law by Governor M. Jodi Rell in 2005. Between now and 2015, the committee is tasked with allocating approximately $100 million in order to encourage stem cell research in Connecticut.

"With this first allotment of money, Connecticut becomes a national leader in the area of stem cell research," said the Governor. "We have proven ourselves able to provide a place where such research can be done safely, ethically and effectively in addition to providing investment dollars for the growth of the bioscience industry in Connecticut, and making an investment intended to improve the health of generations to come."

Seventy applications were received in response to the committee's Request for Proposals issued on May 10, 2006. A five-member Connecticut Stem Cell Peer Review Committee previously reviewed these applications in accordance with National Institutes of Health guidelines and provided to the larger committee its recommendations with respect to the scientific merits of each application. All applications reviewed were deemed to meet acceptable ethical standards.

"After careful consideration and review by both an international panel of experts and by this committee, we are confident that Connecticut is investing in stem cell research projects that will yield significant scientific findings in the long-term," said Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee Chairman and Department of Public Health Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, M. D., M. P. H.

The following grants have been allocated funds from the Connecticut Stem Cell Research Fund:

An Integrated Approach to Neural Differentiation of Human Embryonic Stem Cells, Yale University, Michael P. Snyder, Principal Investigator, $3,815,476.72

Directing hES Derived Progenitor Cells into Musculoskeletal Lineages, University of Connecticut Health Center and University of Connecticut, David W. Rowe, M. D., Principal Investigator, $3,520,000

Human Embryonic Stem Cell Core Facility at Yale Stem Cell Center, Yale University, Haifan Lin, Principal Investigator, $2,500,000

Human ES Cell Core At University of Connecticut and Wesleyan University, University of Connecticut Health Center, Ren-He Xu, Principal Investigator, $2,500,000

DsRNA and Epigenetic Regulation in Embryonic Stem Cells, University of Connecticut Health Center, Gordon G. Carmichael, $880,000.

Alternative Splicing in Human Embryonic Stem Cells, University of Connecticut Health Center, Brenton R. Graveley, Principal Investigator, $880,000

SMAD4-based ChIP-chip Analysis to Screen Target Genes of BMP and TGF Signaling in Human ES Cells, University of Connecticut Health Center, Ren-He Xu, Principal Investigator, $880,000

Directing Production and Functional Integration of Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Neural Stem Cells, Wesleyan University, Laura B. Grabel, Principal Investigator, $878,348.24

Role of the Leukemia Gene MKL in Developmental Hematopoiesis Using hES Cells, Yale University, Diane Krause, Principal Investigator, $856,653.72

Migration and Integration of Embryonic Stem Cell Derived Neurons into Cerebral Cortex, University of Connecticut, Joseph LoTurco, Principal Investigator, $561,631.84

Optimizing Axonal Regeneration Using a Polymer Implant Containing hESC-derived Glia, University of Connecticut, Akiko Nishiyama, $529,871.76

Development of Efficient Methods for Reproducible and Inducible Transgene Expression in Human Embryonic Stem Cells, University of Connecticut Health Center, James Li, Principal Investigator, $200,000

Pragmatic Assessment of Epigenetic Drift in Human ES Cell Lines, University of Connecticut, Theodore Rasmussen, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, $200,000

Cell Cycle and Nuclear Reprogramming by Somatic Cell Fusion, University of Connecticut Health Center, Winfried Krueger, Principal Investigator, $200,000

Function of the Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein in Early Human Neural Development, Yale University, Yingqun Joan Huang, Principal Investigator, $200,000

Quantitative Analysis of Molecular Transport and Population Kinetics of Stem Cell Cultivation in a Microfluidic System, University of Connecticut, Tai-His Fan, Principal Investigator, $200,000

Embryonic Stem Cell as a Universal Cancer Vaccine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Bei Liu, Zihai Li, M. D., Principal Investigators, $200,000

Lineage Mapping of Early Human Embryonic Stem Cell Differentiation, University of Connecticut, Craig E. Nelson, $200,000

Directed Isolation of Neuronal Stem Cells from hESC Lines, Yale University School of Medicine, Eleni A. Markakis, Principal Investigator, $184,407

Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Directed Endogenous Neural Progenitor Cell Migration, Yale University School of Medicine, Erik Shapiro, Principal Investigator, $199,975

Generation of Insulin Producing Cells from Human Embryonic Stem Cells, University of Connecticut, Gang Xu, Principal Investigator, $200,000

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