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University of Michigan plans major stem cell research center

Madison, Wis. - The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor will create a $10.5 million interdisciplinary center for stem cell biology in a move aimed at bolstering the university's position in the science.

For federally funded research, University of Michigan researchers use stem cell lines from Wisconsin's WiCell Research Institute, among others.

The Michigan center will be established with funding provided by the U-M Medical School, the Life Sciences Institute and the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute (MBNI). The center will recruit up to seven faculty whose laboratories will be located in the LSI, the Medical School or in MBNI.

"Stem cell science is one of the most important areas in biomedical research today," said Mary Sue Coleman, U-M president. "Our commitment to follow the science where it leads is Michigan's historic strength and research signature," she added. "As a world scientific leader, U-M is vigorously pursuing this promising area of discovery."

UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley said the announcement is good news for the science.
"That institutions of the caliber of the University of Michigan are seriously embarking on programs of stem cell research is nothing but good news," Wiley said. "Stem cell science holds amazing promise. The more we know -- and there is much basic research to be done yet -- the sooner this technology will begin to pay dividends. Aligning the resources and talent of a University of Michigan in the interest of stem cell research will move the science at a faster pace. We'll all benefit from the investment they're making."

Coleman said that U-M scientists have made "notable advances in many areas of stem cell science, especially involving tissue-specific and cancer stem cells." The U-M Medical School is home to one of only three NIH-funded human embryonic stem cell research centers in the United States, one of the others being Madison's WiCell Research Institute and the University of Washington-Seattle/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; three new Exploratory Centers for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research were funded through the National Institute of General Medical Sciences in August.

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle last fall outlined a strategy to keep Wisconsin in the forefront of biotechnology - efforts which were to include $750 million in public and private investment and a Wisconsin Center for Discovery on the UW-Madison campus.

WiCell would be part of the new institute, which would be built and financed over 10 years; $50 million in bonding for the project has been authorized. Along with WiCell, the insitute would include specialists in biochemistry, nanotechnology, computer engineering and bioinformatics.

The U-M center's director, Sean Morrison, is associate professor of internal medicine in the Medical School and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Morrison's research focuses on blood-forming (or hematopoietic) stem cells that give rise to all blood and immune system cells and on neural crest stem cells that give rise to the peripheral nervous system. In looking at the fundamental biology of stem cells, the center will examine such phenomena as the ability of stem cells to replicate themselves indefinitely, which could provide insight into how cancer cells can do the same thing.

The Morrison laboratory has published several important advances in stem cell biology in recent years. They showed for the first time that stem cells persist throughout adult life in the peripheral nervous system, a discovery that could lead to new treatments for nervous system injuries. They discovered mechanisms that regulate the maintenance of adult stem cells throughout life, an insight that could have implications for regenerative medicine and cancer. Most recently, they discovered new markers that enhance the purification of blood-forming stem cells, an advance that could lead to safer and more effective bone marrow transplants. Morrison was honored with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2003.

"The university-wide commitment to create and support this new research center is a tangible sign of the importance the U-M places on this rapidly developing area of science," Morrison said. "The more we learn about the fundamental biology of stem cells, the greater the potential for advances in biomedical research and medicine. Bringing scientists from many disciplines together to focus on important questions in stem cell biology is the best way to speed the pace of discovery."

David Niles is senior contributing editor for WTN. He can be reached at


dilip joy responded 9 years ago: #1

i am student of biotechnology and in our curriculum we have summer training programme so i would like to do this in your lab it is poissible there > if possible i need the details
expecting a replay from you
thanking you
dilip joy t

alsadek makki responded 9 years ago: #2

this is alsadek makki i am a bachelors degree in biology and i am already done i have one year prior to go to medical school and i want to do trainig in your labs i wish u reple me soon plz
thank you

gail winters responded 8 years ago: #3

What makes stem cell transplant so important to me is that my husband has multiple systems atrophy (shy-drager) with Parkinsonism. He was just hospitalized to be evaluated to see what other than orthostatic hypotension could be causing his passing out. It was mentioned to us by the attending physician that a stem cell transplant could possibly help. Friday, we have an appointment to see our physician for a follow up from hospitalization. Attending physicians said they could give a referral to University of Michigan for stem cell transplant. I am confused as to whether stem cell transplant are being done. If only from a family doner or from the person themselves? Would appreciate any feedback.

Thank you,
Gail Winters

LeaRN responded 8 years ago: #4

Stem cell research is important, but what about amniotic stem cells? Wouldn't that be a less controversial way of doing things? I ask because I have Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, and the nerves in my eyes may be regenerated by stem cells to help give me sight. responded 8 years ago: #5

Please reply soon as my daughter is Junior in Bioengineering at local university and is deperately looking for coop. job for summer & fall then next fall.

Kimberly Ripley responded 7 years ago: #6

My fiance has leukemia (ALL). He relapsed last week after being in remission for 15 mos. We feel we are being pushed into having a stem cell transplant. I can't find any solid information on the statistics. Has research really progressed so far in this field that we should place his life on the line in doing the transplant? What other options do we have? I know that anything we chose to do or not to do could be fatal, but what would be the safest choice to prolong his life? He is only 42 and otherwise in good health. Maybe this is the wrong place to post this question, but I am posting it just about everywhere I think I may get a knowledgable answer.

Magdalena B. Pasierb responded 7 years ago: #7

I have been doing stem cell reseach for 2 years now. im looking for a part time job for winter 2008. I have worked with mouse embryonic stem cells and MEF cells, and focused my research on toxicity testing. are there any job/internship oportunities available?
M. B. Pasierb

Maureen Ellis responded 7 years ago: #8

I am wondering when stem cells for the optic nerve will be available. Thank You

CRainwater responded 7 years ago: #9

Is the UM going to do any stem cell injections for Optic Nerve Hypoplasia - Great results so far in China - I understand University of Florida will be doing this in 2008 - Hey Michigan - get going...!

kathi meyer responded 7 years ago: #10

my daughter, age 36, was diagnosed at 5 months with optic nerve hypoplasia. it has come to my attention that she can have 6 stem cell transplants in china at the cost of $60,000 to cure this condition. is there anything being done in the US to help her? i can be reached at 609-573-5478. anyone please respond. thanks for your help.

Shelly Strickland responded 7 years ago: #11

My Granddaughter is 3 months old and was just diagnosed with ONH, we are interested in getting her into a research study for Stem Cell Research.

deena responded 6 years ago: #12

my 19 year old son was diagnosed at age 16 for onh and congenital cataracts. his vision is progressively getting worse. his physician has said they could remove the cataracts but it could compromise his vision.we need help. please consider him for any research studies.407-272-2231 please help.i am a registered nurse and understand the significance of this research.he is my angel and we need an angel to help us.i am willing to donate marrow or whatever it takes to help my son not loose the little bit of sight he has now.

Chris Riemer responded 6 years ago: #13

To whom this may concern

My grandaughter was diagnosed. With ONH when she was 2 mos old. She is now 13 mos old. My daughter is is having another baby and will have the cord saved in hopes that the stem cells in the cord; Will one day help her daughter diagnosed with ONH.
Thank you in advance

Thank You
Chris Riemer

Sandeep Sure responded 6 years ago: #14

respected sir,
i am student of m. sc. biotechnology at indian institute of technology, roorkee. i have deep desire to do research in stem cell science and thus wants to learn its basic techniques. in india, research institutes providing such training are very rare.thus i want to do a summer training at your lab so i can get familiar with the way research done and basic techniques in stem cell science. if you are providing any summer training please reply me giving details of it.
thankin you

Sherri responded 5 years ago: #15

I'm interested in your stem cell research program. My husband had a massive stroke 4 years ago with right side paralysis,nerve pain on the right side & nonfunctional right hand & his communication skills were affected and he has seizures.
If my husband could benefit from stem cell transplantation please consider him for your research.

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