Stem Cell Institute
Unlocking the Secrets of Stem Cells
Armed with an exceptional team of stem cell scientists, Connecticut's flagship public university has positioned itself at the forefront of today's highly promising stem cell research. UConn's multi-disciplinary effort unites the university's major commitment to the field of regenerative medicine with pioneering research at a new state-of-the-art Cell and Genome Sciences Building adjacent to the UConn Health Center.
When the Connecticut General Assembly authorized public financing of human stem cell research, in 2005, the University of Connecticut's successful track record in this rapidly evolving field had already positioned the University as a leader. The university has responded to the legislation by obtaining grant support to initiate research programs for 30 scientists and physicians studying stem cells from a wide range of perspectives. These include a large program in bone biology focused on regenerative stem cell therapies to repair major bone injuries such as those suffered by U.S. armed forces in Iraq.
UConn has also recruited scientists with hands-on expertise in human embryonic research to establish the Stem Cell Core Laboratory at the UConn Health Center to train and support the next generation of clinical and basic scientists who will lead this new field of investigation into areas of medical practice. Since its initial funding, UConn's Stem Cell Core Laboratory has made dramatic progress, quickly succeeding in:
- Culturing, establishing quality control methods and banking nine human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines.
- Developing a memorandum of understanding with WiCell to distribute, with minimal paperwork, hESCs to more than 20 laboratories at the University of Connecticut, Wesleyan University and Yale University.
- Holding 15 training sessions on hESC culture for 100 researchers and graduate students statewide and beyond.
- Producing patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells using cutting-edge techniques that do not require any manipulation of human embryos.
Every day, in laboratories in Storrs and Farmington, University of Connecticut researchers are striving to unlock the secrets of human stem cells, the so-called "magic seeds" of regenerative medicine. Their work is leading the way toward creation of a new industry with immense potential for Connecticut. And it holds the promise of a bright future for people suffering from dozens of chronic, debilitating and life-threatening diseases.