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NIH EUREKA award funds research at WPI aimed at turning adult skin cells into stem-like cells
Date:9/3/2008

WORCESTER, Mass. A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has received a three-year, $900,000 award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a project aimed at developing a novel way of transforming adult skin cells into stem-like cells. If successful, the research could result in a relatively simple and straightforward method for replacing tissue lost to injury, growing new organs, and curing degenerative diseases like diabetes and Parkinson's.

The grant is one of only 38 awarded by the NIH through a new program called EUREKA (Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration), which was created to fund exceptionally innovative research projects that could have an extraordinarily significant impact on many areas of science. The grants will help investigators test novel, often unconventional hypotheses, or tackle major methodological or technical challenges.

"EUREKA projects promise remarkable outcomes that could revolutionize science," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. "The program reflects NIH's commitment to supporting potentially transformative research, even if it carries a greater than usual degree of scientific risk."

"This outstanding award is indicative of the high quality of work underway at WPI in the life sciences" says John A. Orr, WPI's provost and senior vice president. "It also reflects the value of the extraordinary investment the university has made in life sciences education and research, particularly through our development of Gateway Park and the 125,000-square-foot WPI Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park. Our commitment to playing a vital role in the growth of the life sciences economy locally and regionally, as well as to promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in areas of national need, is bearing fruit."

The WPI research is an outgrowth of a two-year project funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the f
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Contact: Michael Dorsey
mwdorsey@wpi.edu
508-831-5609
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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