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Pitt researchers net $5 million from NIH to explore better ways to grow cells
Date:9/25/2009

PITTSBURGHRegenerative medicine researchers at the University of Pittsburgh received two grants totaling more than $5 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to explore new methods for cultivating replacement cells from existing tissues and organs.

A $2.9 million, five-year Transformative R01 (T-R01) grant presented to Eric Lagasse, a professor of pathology in Pitt's School of Medicine and a researcher in Pitt and UPMC's jointly operated McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, will support the development of a novel concept: using the body's many lymph nodes as sites for growing replacement cells for other tissues and organs, in essence using them as bioreactors to grow cells within the living body. Ipsita Banerjee, a professor of chemical and petroleum engineering in Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering and a McGowan faculty member, received a $2.2 million, five-year New Innovator award to unravel how embryonic stem cells develop into mature cells and possible techniques for influencing their growth to suit specific organs.

The grants were presented as part of the 2009 NIH Director's High-Risk Research Awards, a cluster of five-year grants presented to researchers exploring ideas with the potential to advance their fields and medical treatment. On Sept. 24, the NIH announced 115 awards totaling $348 million, including 42 T-R01 Awards, 18 Pioneer Awards, and 55 New Innovator Awards for early-stage investigators. This marks the inaugural year for the T-R01 grantswhich support innovative and high-risk projects that could profoundly impact biomedical research and medical treatmentand also is a record year for the number of New Innovator and Pioneer Awards bestowed. Fellow New Innovator and T-R01 recipients include researchers from the Cleveland Clinic, Columbia University, Duke University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
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Contact: Morgan Kelly
mekelly@pitt.edu
412-624-4356
University of Pittsburgh
Source:Eurekalert

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