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Fifth young scientist gets funding from state stem cell research institute

- By Krista Conger

A fifth young scientist from the School of Medicine has received funding from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine through its efforts to foster the next generation of stem cell researchers.

Ching-Pin Chang, MD, PhD, assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine, was awarded $3.1 million over a five-year period for his proposal to investigate the role of stem cells in the restenosis, or narrowing, of coronary arteries enlarged by angioplasty.

The award brings to five the total of new faculty awards received by Stanford. Four were given in the first round of funding in December 2007. Institutions affiliated with an accredited medical school were limited to five recipients between the two rounds of funding. Stanford has now received nearly $94 million from CIRM in grants, including $13.8 million from the new faculty awards.

Chang's grant was approved at the Aug. 13 meeting of CIRM's governing board, the Independent Citizen's Oversight Committee. During the meeting, which was held on the Stanford campus, $59 million was awarded to 23 researchers in the second round of new faculty awards. The awards are intended to support young physician-scientists in the early stages of establishing careers in stem cell research - a point when it can be difficult to obtain funding from other research agencies.

'Decreased funding by the National Institutes of Health has created enormous pressure on young researchers,' said Philip Pizzo, MD, dean of the medical school and board member. (Pizzo abstained from voting on Chang's award.) 'The marketplace of current medicine, with its increased demands to be clinically productive, further constrains the time they can devote to research.'

The awards complement the 22 new faculty awards totaling more than $54 million announced last December. The additional 23 grants announced Aug. 13 reflect CIRM's commitment to supporting the recruitment of new faculty into the stem cell field in California.

'We expect these awards to play a significant role in changing the career trajectory of funded researchers, encouraging talented young investigators to pursue careers in stem cell research,' CIRM president Alan Trounson, PhD, said in a press release. 'I'm pleased that great research has the opportunity for funding.'

Stanford Medicine integrates research, medical education and health care at its three institutions - Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care (formerly Stanford Hospital & Clinics), and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. For more information, please visit the Office of Communication & Public Affairs site at http://mednews.stanford.edu.

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