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Twenty Johns Hopkins Researchers Awarded Stem Cell Research Funds from Maryland - 06/15/2015

Twenty Johns Hopkins Researchers Awarded Stem Cell Research Funds from Maryland

Release Date: June 15, 2015

This year, the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission awarded 21 of its 29 grants to Johns Hopkins researchers. One researcher won two grants. The grants will support projects that study the basic principles of how stem cells work and that develop potential therapies for conditions ranging from traumatic brain injury to heart disease to ALS. This year’s grants will total $9.4 million.

“The Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission is a crucial backer of potentially lifesaving research in this state,” says Ted Dawson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Institute for Cell Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and one of this year’s awardees. “We are grateful to the commission for once again supporting an impressive range of promising projects at Johns Hopkins.”

Researchers with promising preliminary data were awarded Investigator-Initiated Grants. Johns Hopkins recipients of these grants are:

Luis Garza, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of dermatology and oncology, for his “Clinical Trial of Human Fibroblast Stem Cells to Convert Skin Identity and Enhance Prosthetic Use”

Vassilis Koliatsos, M.D., professor of pathology, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and neurology; for the project “Stem Cell Therapies for Traumatic Brain Injury: Contusions and Axonal Injuries”

Chulan Kwon, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine, for the project “Mechanisms of Human Heart Precursor Renewal”

Nicholas Maragakis, M.D., professor of neurology and director of the Michael S. and Karen G. Ansari ALS Center for Cell Therapy and Regeneration Research, for the project “Development of Imaging Biomarkers for Stem Cell Transplantation in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis”

Hongjun Song, Ph.D., professor of neurology and neuroscience, for the project “Engineering Organoids from Human Stem Cells and their Application in Safety Assessment”

Exploratory grants were awarded to researchers either new to the stem cell field or with untested but promising new ideas:

Kathleen Burns, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pathology and oncology, for the project “Functional Studies of a LINE-1 (L1) Insertion in the Janus Kinase 2 (JAK2) Locus”

Ted Dawson, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology and director of the Institute for Cell Engineering, for the project “Development of a Chimeric Human Mouse Model of Parkinson’s Disease”

Peter Johnston, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and medical director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Howard County General Hospital, for the project “Cell Impregnated Nanofiber Stent Sleeve for Peripheral Vascular Repair”

Dara Kraitchman, D.V.M., Ph.D., professor of radiology and radiological science, for the project “Spontaneously Occurring Spinal Cord Injury in Dogs as a Model for Studying Stem Cell Therapy”

Yunqing Li, Ph.D., a research scientist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and assistant professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, for her project “Regulation of Oligodendrocyte Identity by MicroRNA Networks”

Jiou Wang, Ph.D., an assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the school of public health, for the project “Pathogenic Mechanisms and Intervention Targets in Neurodegenerative Disease ALS/FTD”

Zhexing Wen, Ph.D., a research fellow in the department of neurology, for the project “Synaptic Screening with Psychiatric Patient iPSCs-Derived Neurons for Drug Discovery”

Lingling Xian, M.D., Ph.D., a research associate in the department of hematology, for the project “HMGA1 Chromatin Remodeling Proteins in Human Intestinal Stem Cell Homeostasis  and Gut Regeneration”

Mingyao Ying, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology, for the project “Highly Efficient Conversion of Human iPS Cells to Dopaminergic Neurons by Synthetic Modified mRNAs”

Select postdoctoral trainees will also receive funding for research projects:

Bin-Kuan Chou, Ph.D., for the project Deciphering the Roles of a Master Regulator RUNX1 in Human Hematopoiesis and Megakaryopoiesis”

Jeffrey Ehmsen, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., for the project Identifying New Targets to Promote Muscle Regeneration”

Ileana Lorenzini, Ph.D., for the project “Role of Structural and Functional Changes of Dendritic Spines in Patient-Derived C9ORF72 iPS Neurons”

Hideki Uosaki, M.D., Ph.D., for the project “MicroRNA-based Maturation of Cardiomyocytes Derived from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells”

Soon Yeon Yoo, Ph.D., for the project “Adult hypothalamic neurogenesis and regulation of feeding and metabolism”

Ki-Jun Yoon, Ph.D., for the projects “Modeling Neurodevelopmental Defects in Psychiatric Disorders using iPSC-Derived 3D Cerebral Organoid” and “Single Cell Transcriptome Analysis of Human iPS-Derived Neural Progenitors”

The governor and the Maryland General Assembly first enacted the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund in 2006 as a way to promote stem cell research and treatments for disease in the state of Maryland. The funds are managed by the Maryland Technology Development Corporation, a group designed to facilitate the state’s business development.