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2019 Regenerative Medicine Minnesota Research Awards Announced

VP Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD
Regenerative Medicine Minnesota

Regenerative Medicine Minnesota awarded $3 million to fund 11 research grants looking for better therapies for people with diabetes, cartilage injury, heart disease, cancer, COPD, spinal cord injury, neurological disorders, and age-related macular degeneration.

Regenerative Medicine Minnesota (RMM) was created in 2017 by the Minnesota Legislature as a joint venture between the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic with the goal of establishing infrastructure and supporting research and education as well as bringing the benefits of regenerative medicine to the citizens of the state.

In regenerative medicine, cell and developmental biology, regenerative pharmacology and immunology, medicine and surgery, biotechnology, bioengineering are brought together to develop ways to replace, restore, or regenerate damaged or malfunctioning cells, tissues, and organs to help people heal.

The Regenerative Medicine Minnesota Board, made up of representatives from the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic, along with Minnesotans from fields such as patient advocacy, industry, and healthcare are responsible for reviewing the applications and recommending the distribution of funds. The senior officials of the RMM include Dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School, Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD, Vice President for Clinical Affairs at the University of Minnesota, and Mayo Clinic’s Executive Dean for Research and the Director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science.

Now in our fifth year, we recently requested proposals for research to move regenerative medicine forward. Out of 55 excellent applications, the following 11 projects were selected for two-year Regenerative Medicine Minnesota Research grants:

CLINICAL TRIALS (research in human patients)

LaTonya Hickson, MD
Patient-derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cell Therapy in Diabetic Kidney Disease: A Phase I Study

DISCOVERY SCIENCE (research that provides basic knowledge)

Jonathan Finnoff, DO
Protein Removal and Purification of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP2)

Leigh Griffiths, PhD, MRCVS
Saphenous Vein Extracellular Matrix Scaffolds for Use in Coronary Artery Bypass

Wenqian Hu, PhD
Killing Cancer Cells by Activating the Cellular Intrinsic Nuclear Loss Program

Mi-Hyeon Jang, PhD
Targeting Adenosine A2A Receptor as a Novel Regenerative Therapy in Improving Chemobrain

Jacob Montgomery, PhD
Investigation of Serotonergic Signaling Mechanisms that Promote Regeneration Following Spinal Cord Injury

Bhairab Singh, PhD
Translational Strategies for Cardiovascular Repair and Regeneration

Veena Taneja, PhD
Regenerating Lung Homeostasis to Treat Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in Humanized Mice

TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH (research that applies basic knowledge to specific medical problems)

Deborah Ferrington, PhD
Personalized Drug Screening for Patients with Age-related Macular Degeneration using iPSC-RPE

Erik Finger, MD, PhD
Foundational Methods for High-throughput Pancreatic Islet Cryopreservation

Arthur Warrington, PhD
Improving Remyelination for Spinal Cord Injury

Additional information about these and other grants can be found at

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