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NRI gets US stem cell award

By Suman Guha Mozumder in New York
May 14, 2005 10:37 IST
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An Indian American is among a group of 12 young scientists selected by the Harvard Stem Cell Institute to be its first Seed Grant recipients totaling $1.8 million.

Rohit Kulkarni, assistant professor of Medicine, HMS and Joslin Diabetes Center, will get $150,000 in grant over a two-year period to support his research. Kulkarni's research proposal is identification of beta cell growth factor.

According to HSCI, each grant recipient will receive $150,000 to support research aimed at advancing the understanding of stem cell biology and developing new therapeutic approaches to several diseases, including cancer,
diabetes, kidney disease, Parkinson's disease.

Five of the twelve projects will involve human embryonic stem cells, including using or creating new stem cell lines that are not eligible for federal funding.

The purpose of the Seed Grant programme is to provide early funding for innovative projects in any field of stem cell research.

The awards announced early this month, put particular emphasis on projects that might be difficult to fund from other sources either because a project is considered to be "high risk/high payoff," or because the research is ineligible for
federal funding under the current federal restrictions on human embryonic stem cell research.

Also, the grants are meant to encourage the participation of promising younger scientists in stem cell research.

The twelve grant winners were chosen from 70 applications following review by a multi-institutional committee chaired by Stuart Orkin, David G Nathan Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

The funding for the Seed Grants comes from private philanthropic donations.

The Harvard Stem Cell Institute was established in April of 2004. Its mission is to advance understanding of stem cells and their applications to human health.

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Suman Guha Mozumder in New York
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