Li Ka Shing Foundation renews support for Yale Stem Cell Center

This article is republished from Yale News. For questions, please contact Bill Hathaway at william.hathaway@yale.edu.

The Yale Stem Cell Center (YSCC), under the direction of biologist Haifan Lin, has announced a new generous grant of $1.86 million from the Li Ka Shing Foundation (LKSF), founded by Hong Kong businessman Li Ka-shing, to support education and healthcare initiatives. The contribution builds on a 2011 grant of $1.56 million to secure state-of-the-art equipment for stem cell research at Yale and includes new funding that will strengthen collaborations between Yale and China’s Shantou University.

One of the fastest growing areas of biomedical science, stem cell research demands the very latest instrumentation and training. Since 2006, Lin has developed the Yale Stem Cell Center as both an incubator for scientific discovery and a training ground for new investigators.

“The Yale Stem Cell Center offers a platform where both scientists and clinicians can ask important questions about stem cells and human health,” Lin said. “Continuing support from the Li Ka Shing Foundation will allow us to accelerate the pace and broaden the scope of our work.”

Li said, “Training side-by-side with leading scientists in stem cell research will be a transformative experience for the students and faculty at Shantou University Medical College, and I want to express my heart-felt appreciation to Professor Haifan Lin and the YSCC for this amazing opportunity.”

Advances in stem cell science can offer basic insights into human development and the promise of new treatments for physical trauma, degenerative conditions, and genetic diseases. Because this research requires specialized instrumentation and expertise beyond what can be afforded by individual investigators, Lin has organized the Yale Stem Cell Center around four core laboratories that serve more than 80 Yale faculty members, along with researchers from other regional institutions.

“In the Yale Stem Cell Center, Haifan Lin has developed an approach to collaborative research that truly serves as a model for universities and institutes around the country,” said Robert J. Alpern, dean and the Ensign Professor at Yale School of Medicine. “By sharing resources, laboratory techniques, and insights into how stem cells function, Haifan and his colleagues opened the door to discoveries that otherwise may not have been possible, for both basic science and clinical applications.”

The new round of funding from LKSF will enable Yale investigators to purchase additional equipment to facilitate their research. This instrumentation will also support collaborations with scientists and clinicians in U.S. institutions such as the University of Connecticut Stem Cell Institute, the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Such exchanges can deepen our basic understanding of stem cell biology and help to translate today’s technological breakthroughs into tomorrow’s personalized treatments and cures.

The grant also continues and expands the Yale Stem Cell Center’s partnership with Shantou University, a key comprehensive university established through a public-private partnership between the Ministry of Education of Guangdong Province and the Li Ka Shing Foundation.

“Yale is enormously grateful to Li Ka Shing Foundation for its continued support of basic science, translational research, and scholarly exchange,” said Carolyn Slayman, Sterling Professor of Genetics, professor of cellular and molecular physiology, and deputy dean for academic & scientific affairs. “This grant will help expedite the development of therapeutic treatments for some of the world’s most debilitating diseases.”

This article was submitted by Claire M. Bessinger - Van Graan on February 26, 2015.

Haifan Lin
Haifan Lin, center, developed the Yale Stem Cell Center as both an incubator for scientific discovery and a training ground for new investigators.

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Robert Alpern

Ensign Professor of Medicine (Nephrology)

Haifan Lin

Eugene Higgins Professor of Cell Biology, and Professor of Genetics and of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences

Carolyn Slayman

Sterling Professor of Genetics and Professor of Cellular and Molecular Physiology