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Nature Magazine's Stem Cell Out-of-the-box Engineering Program: IGERT


The Stem Cell Biomanufacturing IGERT program at the Georgia Institute of Technology was mentioned in Nature Magazine on June 9th in Growing with the flow by Meredith Wadman as one of the few programs providing young researchers with “outside-the-box opportunities” for stem cell research amidst the funding feud.

Last year, the appeal to repeal the injunction blocking the NIH from funding research using embryonic stem cells was passed. A second victory for scientists occurred when courts recently ruled that “the Department of Health and Human Services would not prevent future presidents or Congresses from acting anew to limit government funding for research.” However, there is still some public opposition to using days-old human embryos for research. Meanwhile, the NIH will fund $125 million to stem cell research this year alone, but scientists are wary knowing this funding comes without long-term security.

The article details programs available to young scientist considering careers in stem-cell research in the US and around the world. Ms. Wadman recommended stem cell PhD programs at Stanford, the Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at New York University School of Medicine, the University of Minnesota, and the Hanover Biomedical Research School in Germany.

She also commented on “the emerging need for biomanufacturures with stem-cell experitise, as exemplified by a new PhD prgoramme in stem-cell biomanufacturing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, funded by the US National Science Foundation. The programme opened its doors last year and is admitting six students per year. “If stem cells are going to move out of the lab, there will be lots of need for engineers to produce a large number of identical cells,”” says Aaron Levine, assistant professor of public policy at Georgia Tech.

The Stem Cell Biomanufacturing IGERT program offers enormous promise for researchers to become experts in stem cell biomanufacturing for the development of cell-based therapies, including regenerative medicine, drug discovery and development, cell-based diagnostics, and cancer. With funding for the next 4 years, this IGERT program is transforming the potential of stem cells for PhD scientists and engineers.