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Milestones

UCLA researchers are the first in California to create induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells)

February 2008 - Led by Kathrin Plath and William Lowry researchers use genetic alteration to turn back the clock on human skin cells and create cells that are nearly identical to human embryonic stem cells, which have the ability to become every cell type found in the human body. Previously, only two teams of scientists from Kyoto University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison had reported the creation of iPS cells from human cells.


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California voters approve Proposition 71

November 2004 - Proposition 71, establishes the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and authorizes the issuance of $3 billion in state general obligation bonds to provide funding for stem cell research and facilities in California.

UCLA launches Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine

March 2005 - Then Chancellor Carnesale commits $20 million over five years to deepen UCLA’s impact on the field of stem cell and regenerative medicine.

President George W. Bush restricts federal funding for stem cell research

August 9, 2001 - President Bush limits federal funding for stem cell research to the existing 21 human embryonic stem cell lines and prohibits funding for research on stem cell lines created after August 9, 2001.

UCLA Stem Cell Institute receives $2.86 million from CIRM to create new laboratory space.

June 2007 - The multi-user laboratory space equipped with four tissue culture areas makes possible human embryonic stem cell research that is either not allowed due to current federal funding restrictions or not technically feasible in individual research laboratories.


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UCLA Stem Cell Institute recruits five internationally renowned scientists to its research team

October 2006 - The Stem Cell Institute faculty members are Amander Clark formerly of UCSF; William Lowry formerly of Rockefeller University; Hanna Mikkola formerly of Harvard; Kathrin Plath, formerly of the Whitehead Institute at MIT; April Pyle formerly of Johns Hopkins University.


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BSCRC receives $19.8 million from CIRM to build new facilities for stem cell research.

May 2008 - UCLA officials create space that includes research labs and core facilities to accommodate both senior and junior faculty members interested in a wide range of stem cell research areas.


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President Obama’s executive order lifts Bush-era limitations on human embryonic-stem-cell research.

March 9, 2009 - President Obama signs an executive order to lift the restriction imposed by President Bush wherein funding is prohibited for human embryonic stem cell research on cell lines created after August 9, 2001.

CalTech-UCLA collaboration establishes the Joint Center for Translational Medicine (JCTM).

May 2009 - Initial funding for the JCTM comes from a two year, $5 million gift from The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation to CalTech. The JCTM advances experimental research into clinical applications, including the diagnosis and therapy of diseases such as cancer.


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BSCRC launches Scholars in Translational Medicine (STM) Program

July 2009 - The STM Program awards young clinician scientists the extraordinary opportunity to pursue translational endeavors that will drive their basic scientific discoveries to clinical application and ultimately impact patient care.


CIRM awards $49.2 million to BSCRC scientists to advance bench to bedside research.

October 2009 - Three BSCRC scientists, Drs. Donald Kohn, Irvin Chen, and Dennis Slamon, are awarded CIRM grants totaling $49.2 million to take leading-edge stem cell science from the laboratory and translate it into new therapies.


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CIRM-BSCRC Laboratory Opens in Terasaki Life Sciences Building

October 2010- The CIRM - BSCRC Laboratory is a state-of-the-art stem cell research facility that fosters scientific collaboration across disciplines in the pursuit of advancing stem cell and regenerative medicine. The CIRM-BSCRC Laboratory is housed in the Terasaki Life Sciences Building. In May 2010, UCLA professor emeritus of surgery and pioneer in organ transplant medicine, Dr. Paul Terasaki, donated $50 million to UCLA Life Sciences; the building was named in recognition of his visionary philanthropy.


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NIH accepts three UCLA human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines into their hESC Registry.

May 2010 - hESC lines, UCLA 1, 2, and 3, derived by Dr's. Amander Clark and Rachel Kim are available for use in federally funded research projects, increasing the diversity of cell lines available for study. UCLA is one of only nine institutions in the world with stem cell lines admitted to the NIH registry.


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photo credit: Human Embryonic Stem Cells PLoS Biology via Wikimedia Commons

Four UCLA Researchers awarded $12 million in grants to translate basic discoveries into therapies

October 2010 - The state stem cell agency today awarded four grants totaling $12 million to researchers with the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA to translate basic science into new and more effective therapies to regenerate bone and treat deadly brain cancers, spinal cord injuries and cornea disorders that result in blindness.


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BSCRC researcher Gay Crooks receives $1.35 million from CIRM to fund research into transplantation immunology.

June 2010 - Using stem cells to replace or restore tissues lost to injury or disease represents an area of great promise in regenerative medicine. However, immune rejection of stem cell transplants remains a challenge to translating science from the lab into the clinic. Gay Crooks will use her grant funding to develop “tolerant” T cells, cells that have been engineered to not react against, or reject, transplanted cells.


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World's first human embryonic stem cell lines are created

November 1998 - James Thomson (University of Wisconsin) successfully removes cells from the inner cell mass of embryos and develops the first human embryonic stem cell lines; scientists still utilize these lines to further their research.

Stem Cell Researchers reprogram normal tissue cells into cells with the same properties as embryonic stem cells

June 2007 - Researchers at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine at UCLA were able to take normal tissue cells and reprogram them into cells with the same unlimited properties as embryonic stem cells, the cells that are able to give rise to every cell type found in the body. The implications for disease treatment could be staggering. Reprogramming adult stem cells into embryonic stem cells could generate a potentially limitless source of immune-compatible cells for tissue engineering and transplantation medicine.


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The Broad Foundations donate $20 Million to advance the stem cell research effort at UCLA.

September 2007 - The Institute is renamed Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA. This generous gift enables UCLA to purchase specialized, high-tech laboratory equipment, support faculty recruitment through research grants and continue its leadership in cutting-edge, multidisciplinary scientific and medical research.


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CIRM awards more than $5.3 million to BSCRC researchers to develop innovative tools and technologies.

January 2011 - Three BSCRC researchers, Dr. Richard Gatti, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, Dr. Thomas Carmichael, an associate professor of neurology, and Dr. Martin Martin a professor of pediatrics and gastroenterology, were awarded more than $5.3 million in state grants to develop innovative tools and technologies that will help overcome the technical hurdles in advancing basic, translational and clinical stem cell research.


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CIRM awards more than $8 million to BSCRC researchers to investigate basic mechanisms underlying stem cell biology and differentiation

May 2011 - Six BSCRC researchers, Drs. Gay Crooks, Shuo Lin, William Lowry, W. Robb MacLellan, Kathrin Plath, and Yi Sun were awarded more than $8 million in grants from the state stem cell agency on May 3 to investigate basic mechanisms underlying stem cell biology and differentiation. The studies supported by these awards will form the foundation for future translational and clinical advances, enabling the realization of the full potential of human stem cells and reprogrammed induced pluripotent stem cells for therapies and as tools for biomedical innovation.


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NIH Awards $4 million to BSCRC researchers recognizing their leading-edge, innovative research

September 2011 - Two BSCRC scientists have received prestigious awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognizing their leading-edge, innovative research. Researchers Utpal Banerjee, the Irving and Jean Stone Professor and chairman of the Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology Department and Heather Christofk, an assistant professor of molecular and medical pharmacology, received the NIH Pioneer Award and New Innovator Award, respectively. Banerjee was awarded $2.5 million over five years, Christofk will receive $1.5 million over five years


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President Obama Nominates Broad Stem Cell Research Center Director Dr. Owen Witte to Serve on the President's Cancer Panel

November 29, 2011 - Dr. Owen Witte, founding director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA and a renowned cancer researcher, was selected today by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Cancer Panel, which monitors the development and execution of the National Cancer Program. The members of the panel are selected based on their training, experience and background as exceptionally qualified to appraise the National Cancer Program.


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BSCRC Receives $1 Million to Support Annual Educational Symposium

February 10, 2012 - The Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA received a $1 million gift today for its annual stem cell symposium that draws top scientists from around the world. The Bloomfield Family Foundation, headed by Margaret “Peggy” Bloomfield of Pacific Palisades, made the gift. Bloomfield is a long-time supporter of the Broad Stem Cell Research Center. The gift was announced by Witte Friday morning at the start of the eighth annual stem cell symposium, “Stem Cells and Cancer: Shared Paths, Different Destinations”


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BSCRC Scientists Awarded $20 Million Grant to Develop New Melanoma Treatment and Test it in Clinical Trials

July 26, 2012 - A team of scientists led by Dr. Antoni Ribas, a member of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA and a professor of medicine, were awarded a $20 million grant today to take leading-edge stem cell science from the laboratory and translate it into a new treatment for metastatic melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.


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$6 Million Awarded to Physician-Scientists for Clinical and Translational Grants from State Stem Cell Agency

December 14, 2012 - Two cardiology investigators from the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research, Drs. Reza Ardehali and Ali Nsair, received grants totaling over $6 million from CIRM, the state stem cell agency. They will use their clinical and scientific training to conduct leading-edge research on the developmental and molecular biology of stem cells to advance regenerative medicine for heart disease. The studies supported by these awards will help form the foundation for translational and clinical advances, enabling realization of the potential of human stem cells for therapies and as tools for biomedical innovation.


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Vision improves modestly in patients after human embryonic stem cell transplants

Researchers at UCLA's Jules Stein Eye Institute and colleagues who successfully transplanted specialized retinal cells derived from human embryonic stem cells into the eyes of two legally blind patients report that the transplants appear safe and that both patients have experienced modest improvement in their vision. The patients are part of two separate clinical trials, each of which will eventually include 12 patients. The trials will aim to determine the safety of this particular use of stem cell therapy, as well as the patients' ability to tolerate the treatment. UCLA Newsroom Full Story

More Information on the Clinical Trial at UCLA

Photo: UCLA's Dr. Steven Schwartz performs stem cell transplant. (Source: UCLA Newsroom)

UCLA Scholars Awarded Sloan Research Fellowships

February 20, 2013 - Five outstanding young professors from UCLA are among 126 scientists and scholars to receive Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Two of the five UCLA recipients, Drs. Jason Ernst and Yi Xing, are members of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research Center. Ernst conducts research in computational biology and bioinformatics, developing and applying computational methods to better analyze and model high-throughput experimental data, while Xing's laboratory studies gene regulation at the RNA level using computational and experimental approaches and develop novel methods for the analysis of massive genomic data. The fellowships are awarded to exceptional young researchers who "represent the very best that science has to offer" and are "the next generation of leaders in the natural sciences, economics, and mathematics," according to the New York–based foundation.


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Stem Cell Researcher Receives Stem Cell “Bank” Initiative Grant

March 28, 2013 - Dr. Brigitte Gomperts,, a member of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research and associate professor of pediatric hematology/oncology, received a Tissue Collection for Disease Modeling grant of over $900,000 from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). The award will support the collection of blood from patients with a progressive and potentially fatal lung disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and the blood will be used to create induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). iPSC can become any cell in the body, similar to embryonic stem cells, but instead of coming from human embryos, scientists induce skin or blood cells back to a pluripotent state in the laboratory. To date, UCLA and its stem cell scientists have received 60 grants from CIRM totaling more than $189 million.

$13 Million Awarded to 4 UCLA Researchers from State Stem Cell Agency

August 28, 2013 - Four prominent UCLA stem cell researchers have received Early Translational research awards totaling approximately $13 million from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) the state stem cell agency. The UCLA researchers received four of the 12 total awards; no other applicant institution received more than one award. The awardees are Dr. Jerome Zack professor of medicine and microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics; Dr. Robert Reiter, Bing professor of urologic research; Dr. Donald Kohn professor of pediatrics and microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics in the life sciences; and Dr. Gerald Lipshutz, associate professor-in-residence of surgery, urology and medicine. The grants are part of CIRM’s Early Translational Research Initiative, which aims to fund and advance promising, innovative discoveries using stem cells. In this “early translation” phase, scientists are expected to do research that will result in the development of drugs or cellular therapies to be used in FDA-approved clinical trials; translating discoveries from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible.

Five UCLA stem cell scientists receive $3.5 million from CIRM to achieve important milestones toward diverse stem cell therapies

January 29, 2014 - Recipients of the four Basic Biology V awards from the state stem cell agency, CIRM, included Dr. Lili Yang,who received $614,400 for her project to develop a novel system for studying how stem cells become rare immune cells; Dr. Denis Evseenko,who received $1,146,468 for his project to identify the elements of the biological niche in which stem cells grow most efficiently into articular cartilage cells; Dr. Thomas Otis and Dr. Ben Novitch, who received $1,148,758 for their project using new light-based optigenetic techniques to study the communication between nerve and muscle cells in spinal muscular atrophy, an inherited degenerative neuromuscular disease in children; and Dr. Samantha Butler who received $598,367 for her project on discovering which molecular elements drive stem cells to become the neurons, or nerve cells in charge of our sense of touch.

UCLA Scientists Taking Stem Cell Research to Patients

December 12, 2013 - Scientists from UCLA’s Broad Stem Cell Research Center are bringing stem cell science funded by the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state stem cell agency, directly to patients in two exciting new clinical trials scheduled to begin in early 2014. The recipients of the Disease Team Therapy Development III awards were Dr. Dennis Slamon and Dr. Zev Wainberg, whose phase I clinical trial will test a new drug that targets cancer stem cells and has been approved to begin enrolling patients in the US and Canada, and Dr. Donald Kohn, whose first-in-human trial is on stem cell gene therapy for sickle cell disease(SCD).This will be the first-in-human testing of stem cell gene therapy for sickle cell disease that allows patients to be their
own bone marrow donors.