New Stem Cell Center
By Stephanie Vatz on May. 10, 2010

In 2004 when Proposition 71 made stem cell research a state constitutional right and designated funds for it, UC Irvine began planning for a center to expand its work in the field of regenerative medicine. Three years and $66.6 million later, a new building to house such research is about to open its doors.

This Friday, May 14, the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center will allow researchers at UCI to continue leading the way to end diseases like Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, cancer and Parkinson’s disease along with treating spinal cord injuries.

The building is completely empty right now, but within a month, it will be bustling with over 120 researchers. Although the official move into the building starts during the week of May 17, it will most likely take a month for all of the equipment and faculty to be fully installed.

Among some of the UCI faculty making progress in the field of stem cell research are associate professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology Hans Keirstead, professor of Anatomy and Biology Oswald Steward and professor developmental and cell biology of Biological Chemistry Peter Donovan.

Keirstead has been working on the effect of stem cells on spinal cord injuries with associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation Aileen Anderson, investigating whether stem cells can restore movement in paralyzed rodents. Steward is doing similar research with spinal cord injuries with an emphasis on nerve regeneration, and Donovan jump-started the development of pluripotent stem cells from primordial germ cells in mice.