2019 CSCI Seed Fund Competition Winners

Three projects led by CSCI Full Members have been selected for the 2019 CSCI Seed Fund Program, a yearly competition designed to jumpstart new stem cell research projects and promote collaboration among CSCI members.


Christoph Anacker

Investigating the role of neural stem cells for age-related cognitive decline and emotional behavior

The generation of new young neurons from stem cells in the hippocampus of the adult brain is a unique form of neuroplasticity that decreases with age, and that has been implicated in age-related disorders. Using state-of-the-art in vivo Ca2+ imaging of adult-born neurons in the hippocampus of freely behaving mice, we will investigate how these new neurons functionally contribute to cognition and emotional behavior in young mice, and in old mice with declined cognitive function and emotional impairments. This project will allow us to gain insight into how the potential of neural stem cells can be harnessed to counteract cognitive decline and mental illness in the future.


Dieter Egli

Determining function of the insulin linked polymorphic region, a T1D risk locus

Type 1 diabetes is caused by the destruction of insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas by the immune system. Genetic studies have implicated genetic variants at the insulin locus in mediating risk of type 1 diabetes. We will investigate in stem cell derived beta cells and in mice with a humanized insulin locus how these variants cause beta cell destruction. 


Kimara Targoff

Mechanisms of cardiomyocyte renewal regulated by Nkx2.5

“Despite cardiomyocyte loss and impaired cardiac function in patients suffering from myocardial ischemia, limited improvement in clinical outcomes has been realized given significant efforts in cardiac reprogramming and stem cell transplantation research.  Using the zebrafish model, we aim to identify stimulatory factors in zebrafish extracellular matrix responsible for promoting cardiomyocyte proliferation in human iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes.  These studies have significance for the field of cardiac stem cell biology and the CSCI mission as we are harnessing regenerative clues from zebrafish to unleash endogenous potential for cardiomyocyte renewal in patients.”


Please join us in congratulating the winners of this year’s CSCI Seed Fund competition. We look forward to learning more to about the development of these exciting projects and to next year’s competition.