The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) are proud to announce that three outstanding teams are the recipients of a research grant funding initiative that seeks to understand how stem cells function. This initiative resulted from a partnership established through CIHR's Canadian Epigenetics, Environment and Health Research Consortium Signature Initiative (CEEHRC) and JST's Strategic International Collaborative Research Program (SICORP).
"Epigenetic factors have become an exceptionally important area within stem cell research as we move ever closer to the realization of regenerative medicine," said Dr. Michiharu Nakamura, President of JST. "We are thrilled to be able to support some of the best and brightest minds in this endeavor, and we feel confident that the synergy between these truly exceptional teams, comprising a diversity of research excellence from Canada and Japan, will lead to ground-breaking new developments and further enhance the valued collaboration between our two countries in this field."
Each team supported through this initiative is composed of a Canadian-based Team Leader and a Japanese-based Team Leader. The funded teams were selected by a peer-review panel of international experts who considered a variety of criteria, including the research approach, originality, team synergy, and potential impact of the research. The total investment for the research projects is $12.5 M CAD over the next five years.
"I congratulate the teams, whose research promises to have a profound impact on our understanding of how epigenetic mechanisms control stem cell activity," said Dr. Alain Beaudet, President of CIHR. "These talented multi-national teams will address some of the important technological hurdles in the use of stem cells in regenerative medicine."
The three teams announced today address ongoing challenges in the epigenetics of stem cells:
- Dr. John Dick (University Health Network in Toronto) and Dr. Hiromitsu Nakauchi (University of Tokyo) will research ways to improve methods for engineering stem cells made from hematopoietic stem cells, potentially identifying new therapeutic targets. They also hope their epigenetic roadmap of the blood system and leukemia will become a new important resource for the research community.
- Dr. Andras Nagy (Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute in Toronto) and Dr. Yasuhiro Yamada (Kyoto University) will study the reprogramming process in order to find cells most suitable for regenerative medicine that are efficient and safe from a tumorigenic perspective.
- Dr. Janet Rossant (Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto) and Dr. Hitoshi Niwa (RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology) will use different methods from labs in Canada and Japan to develop a complete understanding of the molecular epigenetic networks that distinguish pluripotency and trophoblast development. Their research will allow them to learn more about placental development and pregnancy disorders.
About Japan Science and Technology Agency
Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) is an integrated organization for promoting innovation-oriented science and technology in Japan that supports an infrastructure for the entire process, from the creation of knowledge to the return to the society. JST's mission is to promote science and technology which will create new values and lead to the future, in order to advance the national welfare and prosperity.
About Canadian Institutes of Health Research
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's health research investment agency. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened health care system for Canadians. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 14,100 health researchers and trainees across Canada.
David Coulombe, Media Relations, CIHR, 613-941-4563
Dr. Geng Tu, Department of International Affairs, JST, +81(0)3-5214-7375