UCI News

UCI to mark Stem Cell Awareness Day with Oct. 30 lab tour, lecture

Talk will address intersection of politics and science, need to renew research funding

October 18, 2018
UCI to mark Stem Cell Awareness Day with Oct. 30 lab tour, lecture
As part of the Oct. 30 event, members of the public are invited to meet UCI scientists and visit their labs in the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center. Daniel A. Anderson / UCI

Irvine, Calif., Oct. 18, 2018 — The Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center at the University of California, Irvine will mark its Stem Cell Awareness Day on Tuesday, Oct. 30, with a community lab tour and reception followed by a talk about the politics and future of stem cell research.

Members of the public are invited to meet UCI scientists and visit their labs from 5-6:45 p.m. at the campus’s Sue & Bill Gross Hall, 845 Health Sciences Road, in Irvine.

A free lecture, “The Politics of Stem Cells: Science and the Ballot Box,” will start at 7 p.m., presented by Sidney Golub and Mitra Hooshmand.

Golub, UCI professor emeritus of microbiology & molecular genetics and former stem cell center director, will discuss the political history of stem cell research in the United States and how states differ in what types of research they allow.

“California has been way out in front of all the other states; it’s way out in front of most countries,” he said. “California has been the best place to be doing stem cell research in the world.”

In 2004, state voters approved Proposition 71 to create the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which allocates funding for stem cell research.

Hooshmand, director of scientific programs at Americans for Cures, a Palo Alto nonprofit that advocates for stem cell research, will address CIRM-supported research accomplishments, including curing 40 babies born with a fatal disease called ADA-SCID, or bubble boy/baby disease.

The UCI alumna will also talk about the need to renew research funding in 2020. CIRM is expected to spend the last of its $3 billion budget sometime next year.

“My goal is to highlight the importance of building a very strong coalition and leadership who will continue to fight for California’s funding of stem cell research,” Hooshmand said.

The monthly stem cell lecture series, which is geared for a lay audience, runs through April 2019. It explores topics related to clinical trials, therapies and the future of regenerative medicine.

The Oct. 30 lecture will take place at the Thorp Conference Center on the fourth floor of Sue & Bill Gross Hall. Registration for it and the lab tour is required: http://www1.icts.uci.edu/scrc_main/oct302018.cfm.

Free parking for the event is available at the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, 850 Health Sciences Road.

About the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center: One of the largest and most technologically advanced stem cell research facilities in the world, UCI’s Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center was established in 2010, in part through a $10 million gift from Sue and Bill Gross. Its scientists and research and graduate assistants have worked to unlock the potential of stem cells in treating and curing about 70 major diseases and disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, spinal cord and traumatic brain injury, Type 1 diabetes, stroke, end-stage renal disease, glioblastoma multiforme, thermal burns, retinitis pigmentosa and multiple sclerosis. Advances have led to the world’s first clinical trial of a human neural stem cell-based therapy for chronic spinal cord injury and the first FDA-approved clinical trial using human embryonic stem cells. For more information, visit http://stemcell.uci.edu.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

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