Events throughout California are planned in honor of Stem Cell Awareness Day today, with particularly notable activity scheduled at UC-Merced.
Among other events, short primer courses on stem cells will be offered by a number of professors at the University who include Drs. Marcos Garcia-Ojeda, Nestor Oviedo and Maria Pallavicini, all of whom will describe the basics of stem cells and how even organisms such as worms can lend insight into stem cell biology.
Members of the Stem Cell Consortium – a research group consisting of faculty, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows – will also present updates on the construction of the newly planned Stem Cell Instrumentation Foundry, to be located in the Science and Engineering Building at UC-Merced. As of August of this year, the California Institue for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has awarded $8.49 million to UC-Merced for stem cell research, which includes $4.3 million for construction of the Foundry.
According to Dr. Pallavicini, dean of the School of Natural Sciences, "This work is the foundation for groundbreaking treatments and cures for debilitating conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and spinal cord injuries."
The tenth and newest campus in the University of California system, UC-Merced is also the first U.S. research university to have been built in the 21st century, with its inaugural opening in September of 2005.
Stem Cell Awareness Day was originally proposed jointly by Governors Arnold Schwartzenegger of California and Jim Doyle of Wisconsin. Other events are taking place today throughout California, including presentations at Santa Clara University, known as "the Jesuit University in Silicon Valley", where a particular emphasis on the ethical issues of stem cell research are being highlighted.