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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 6:04 EDT

Fifth Young Stanford Scientist Gets Stem Cell Funding From State Institute

August 13, 2008

A fifth young scientist from the Stanford University School of Medicine has received funding from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine through its efforts to foster the next generation of stem cell researchers.

Ching-Pin Chang, MD, PhD, assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine, was awarded $3.1 million over a five-year period for his proposal to investigate the role of stem cells in the restenosis, or narrowing, of coronary arteries enlarged by angioplasty.

The award brings to five the total number of new faculty awards received by investigators at the School of Medicine. Four others were awarded during the first round of funding in December 2007. Institutions were limited to a maximum of five recipients between the two rounds of funding. Stanford has now received nearly $94 million from CIRM in research and facilities grants, $13.8 million of which are from the new faculty awards.

Chang’s grant was approved at the Aug. 13 meeting of CIRM’s 29-member governing board, the Independent Citizen’s Oversight Committee. During the meeting, which was held on the Stanford campus, $59 million was awarded to 23 researchers in the second round of new faculty awards. The awards are intended to support young physician-scientists in the early stages of establishing careers in stem cell research–a point at which it can be difficult to obtain funding from other research agencies.

“There are two major pressures impacting the development of physician-scientists,” Philip Pizzo, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, said during the meeting (Pizzo abstained from voting on Chang’s award). “Decreased funding by the National Institutes of Health has created enormous pressure on young researchers, and the marketplace of current medicine, with its increased demands to be clinically productive, further constrains the time they can devote to research.”

Each applicant was assessed on three points: the significance, innovation, design and feasibility of their research plan; the qualifications, leadership potential, career development and mentoring plans of the potential principal investigator; and the commitment, track records and future plans of the applicant’s institution.

The awards complement the 22 new faculty awards totaling more than $54 million announced last December. The additional 23 grants announced Aug. 13 reflect CIRM’s commitment to supporting the recruitment of new faculty into the stem cell field in California.

“We expect these awards to play a significant role in changing the career trajectory of funded researchers, encouraging talented young investigators to pursue careers in stem cell research,” CIRM president Alan Trounson said in a press release. “I’m pleased that great research has the opportunity for funding.”

CIRM was established in early 2005 with the passage of Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act. The statewide ballot measure provided $3 billion in funding for stem cell research at California universities and research institutions. To date, the CIRM governing board has approved 229 research and facility grants totaling more than $614 million, making CIRM the largest source of funding for embryonic and pluripotent stem cell research in the world.

Stanford University Medical Center integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions — Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. For more information, please visit the Web site of the medical center’s Office of Communication & Public Affairs at http://mednews.stanford.edu.