Northwestern University has received almost $3.5 million in grants from the State of Illinois that will fund three stem cell research projects.
The awards came from the Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute (IMRI), which issues grants to medical research facilities for the development of treatments and cures from stem cell research.
An outside independent panel of experts selected a total of 10 grants for funding, based on innovative approaches and great potential outlined in stem cell research proposals.
IMRI grant recipients include Mary J.C. Hendrix, professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who received $2 million for studies of human stem cells to determine their potential to reverse the progression of malignant tumors, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's disease, brain injury and epilepsy.
Hendrix is president and scientific director of the Children's Memorial Research Center and a member of the executive committees of The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Center for Genetic Medicine at Northwestern University.
Guillermo A. Ameer, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine, received a grant for $870,000 for studies of stem cell-based vascular tissue engineering to develop replacement blood vessels.
Ameer and his collaborators believe their research may eventually eliminate the need to harvest existing blood vessels from patients with vascular disease.
Xiaozhong A. Wang, assistant professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, received $565,000 to investigate genetic control of pluripotency - potential of a stem cell to develop into more than one type of mature cell, depending on the environment - and differentiation in stem cells to control self-renewal and multipotency.