The Rockefeller University is one of 25 institutions to receive a combined $14.5 million from New York state to fund stem cell research and training. The funds, which are part of a multi-year $600 million initiative overseen by the newly created Empire State Stem Cell Board, will fund new shared equipment and services to support research in more than a dozen Rockefeller labs working to understand the mechanisms of stem cells.
Stem cells, which have the unique property of being able to specialize to become any type of cell in the human body, may be the key to regenerating damaged or diseased organs and hold tremendous potential for curing a range of diseases.
Rockefeller’s grant, for $768,426, will help pay for two pieces of equipment critical to its ongoing stem cell research: a fluorescence activated cell sorter, used to analyze the outcome of experiments on samples of cells grown in culture, and a multiphoton microscope, which uses lasers to help visualize molecular events in individual cells. The university will contribute the money needed to hire and train operators for the new equipment.
The grants, announced by Governor Eliot Spitzer and Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson on Monday, are the first to be awarded under the state’s stem cell research initiative created in the 2007–08 budget. Nonprofit institutions that receive at least $1 million in annual biomedical funding from the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation were eligible to apply for between $100,000 and $1 million in state funding to support research, infrastructure and training.