2008 CVI Seed Grants Recipients

CVI Awards Second Round Funding to Two 2008 Seed Grants

October 13, 2008 - Dr. Robbins awarded second-round funding of $100,000 each to two Institute seed grant research teams. On 10/8/08 eight seed grant teams presented progress updates to the review panel composed of faculty Brian Kobilka, MD, Daniel Bernstein, MD, and Robert Simoni, PhD.

The winning projects are The role of PKC isozymes βII and ε in mast cell activity and in hypertension induced heart failure,  and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Derived Cardiomyocytes for Cardiac Therapy, principal investigators Daria Mochly-Rosen, PhD and Joseph Wu, MD, PhD, respectively. Dr. Mochly-Rosen's group is composed of investigators from the departments of Cell and Systems Biology, Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, and Cardiovascular Medicine. Dr. Wu's group is comprised of investigators from Cardiovascular Medicine, Pathology, Genetics and Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford.

Dr. Wu and his colleagues have set a high goal: to develop a new therapy for cardiac disease, one which relies on a patient's own skin to repair the diseased heart.  They plan to coax a patient's own skin cells to become heart cells, using a sophisticated strategy to drive adult tissue to revert into a more primitive stem cell. Stem cells are pluripotent, meaning they can mature into any cell type in the body. Once pluripotency is established, stem cells will be encouraged to mature into cardiomyocytes, the beating cells of the heart, which can then be transplanted into a diseased heart. Manipulating and implanting a patient's own tissue circumvents both the issue of immunological rejection, and the ethical issues associated with other sources of stem cells.

Dr. Mochly-Rosen's careful analysis of the inflammatory response in heart failure may provide new therapies to treat, and perhaps even prevent, this devastating disease. Dr. Mochly-Rosen and her collaborators are investigating the role of mast cells in heart failure. Mast cells are an imflammatory cell that responds to injury by undergoing a process called degranulation. Mast cell degranulation results in a cascade of  inflammation that can cause major injury to sensitive tissues.  Increased mast cell density and degranulation is associated with heart failure. Dr. Mochly-Rosen has identified two factors that can modulate mast cell activity; she can fine-tune that modulation to affect cells differently at different stages of heart failure.  Her careful analysis of disease progression, and of the accompanying role of inflammation, may provide an entirely new strategy for disease treatment.

Stanford CVI investigators mutually benefit from collaborations with members of the Institutes for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine; Immunology, Transplantation and Infection; Neurosciences; and the Comprehensive Cancer Center.

You can find the complete list of 2008 seed grant recipients here.

Daria Mochly-Rosen, PhD

The role of PKC isozymes βII and ε in mast cell activity and in hypertension induced heart failure

Joseph Wu, MD, PhD

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Derived Cardiomyocytes for Cardiac Therapy