Science Market Update
Researchers interested in meeting other researchers and learning about the latest life science solutions on the market are invited to attend Biotechnology Calendar, Inc.’s University of California, San Francisco life science event on February 6th, 2014. Last year, the San Francisco, Mission Bay Biotechnology Vendor Showcase™ Event attracted 280 attendees. This is the perfect opportunity to connect with colleagues in other departments and sales representatives interested in hearing about your work’s successes and your problems in the lab.
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The California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences recently opened a new bioscience incubator close to the University of California San Francisco campus at Mission Bay. The Institute is commonly referred to as QB3 and is affiliated with UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and UC San Francisco.
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The University of California, San Francisco was recently ranked number two in the country for receiving biomedical research grants from the NIH, and it was also the number one ranked public school in the country for receiving these grants. According to the University of California, San Francisco news page, this funding allows UCSF researchers to undertake groundbreaking studies that aim at a better understanding of cancer, diabetes, HIV, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease.
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Researchers at the Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research on the Parnassus Campus of the University of California San Francisco have just published the results of two related studies involving differentiated brain cells transplanted into mice. In one case, the cells were human brain cells integrated successfully into a mouse brain; in the other, epileptic mice were cured with specialized mouse brain cells. In both studies the differentiated cells were a type of interneuron progenitor called medial ganglionic eminence (MGE) cells. Unlike other brain stem cells that can turn into any number of specialized cells, these differentiated MGE cells have a specific function, which is to inhibit signaling in overactive nerve circuits. These experiments hold promise for future treatment of neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and the chronic pain and spasticity caused by spinal cord injury.
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The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) is a major funding agency for stem cell research in the Golden State. Since voters approved the establishment of the agency in 2004, the CIRM has spent billions on research and facilities with the aim of making California the stem cell capital of the US. Now, in a move to advance that research mission even further, the agency has announced awards of $32M to investigators and stem cell companies to create a biobank of diseased cell lines for the use of researchers around the world. Called the Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (hiPSC) Initiative Awards, the project will generate and ensure the availability of high quality disease-specific hiPSC resources for disease modeling, target discovery and drug discovery and development for prevalent, genetically complex diseases.
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Since its first lemonade stand was set up in 2000 by a little girl with cancer, the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) has raised over $60M to support pediatric cancer research at institutions across the United States. That's a lot of lemonade. While lemonade stands are still a staple of the organization's activities, celebrity support and large fund raising events like the recent "Lemon Ball" (which raised a record $825K) allow ALSF to leverage the kind of funds that really make a difference. In a recent round of funding awards, the University of California San Francisco's Benioff Children's Hospital was named a Center of Excellence by the foundation and given $1.75M to speed translational research programs and training over the next five years. Chief investigator on the grant is Dr. Katherine Matthay, chief of pediatric oncology at Benioff. She says of the ALSF award in a recent news release:
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It might or might not surprise you that some very strong private biomedical research institute funding at the University of California San Francisco campus comes from the father of the first enclosed southern California shopping mall, on the one hand, and the founder of Star Trek on the other. Those two innovative individuals, J. David Gladstone and Gene Roddenberry respectively, have left much of their considerable legacy to science research into understanding human disease. A year ago this time, the Gladstone Institutes welcomed the Roddenberry Foundation into its research family with the establishment of the Roddenberry Center for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine within the Gladstone walls on Owens Street in Mission Bay. Two months ago one of the Gladstone's senior research scientists won the Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking work with induced pluripotent stem cells. Those events, in conjunction with the 3 decades of research milestones made by their scientists, as well as their affiliation with UCSF and its world-class stem cell research program position the Gladstone solidly to meet their 21st Century mission goal:
The University of California system has five biomedical campuses currently: San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Irvine, and Davis/Sacramento. While each campus maintains a certain autonomy, the advantage to being part of a unified, statewide system is especially apparent when it comes to sharing resources such as biospecimens. In research studies that require data from large numbers of human blood or tissue samples, for instance, scientists rely on biobanks: an organized collection of human biological material and associated information stored for one or more research purposes.
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UCSF, Mission Bay biomedical research programs are developing and expanding at a rapid rate. Currently, the university has more ongoing biomedical construction projects than anywhere else in the world. Many new research centers and institutes are appearing in spaces that also contain areas for clinical trials and patient care.