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UGA researchers win $9.2 million stem cell grant from NIH
Date:8/4/2008

oss the region via the new Southeast Stem Cell Consortium, which Professor Dalton chairs. We are extremely pleased by the leadership provided by Dr. Dalton in an area that offers so much promise for human health."

Dalton's position as a leader in stem-cell research has been solidified with the recent establishment of the Southeast Stem Cell Consortium. The consortium has strong interests in the basic biology of stem cells, their utility as a model for studying mammalian development and their potential as a cell source to develop therapies for degenerative disease and repair of chronic injury. Focus areas include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, spinal cord injury and neurodegenerative disease.

"This is an innovative program that focuses on an understudied area of stem cell biology," said Marion Zatz, Ph.D., who oversees stem cell grants at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. "By looking at how proteins are modified by sugar molecules as stem cells differentiate, Dalton's team could help us understand how the many distinct cell types in our bodies are formed."

Dalton's research group at UGA focuses on the uses of stem cells in understanding diabetes and cardiovascular disease. One current project involves finding ways to use stem cells to repair the human heart.

"The heart is an organ that doesn't repair itself," said Dalton. "But we're studying a resident population of stem cells that have the capability of dividing and turning into cardiac cells. Theoretically, they could be used to help the heart repair itself after a heart attack."

The new programs join an NIGMS effort launched in 2003 to explore the basic molecular and genetic features of human embryonic stem cells. Prior to the latest awards, the initiative has included six exploratory centers, two multidisciplinary research programs and several independent research projects and supplements.


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Contact: Kim Osborne
kosborne@uga.edu
706-583-0913
University of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert

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