Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission Announces over $7 Million in awards to Accelerate Cures

 COLUMBIA, Md. (June 5, 2020)— The Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission (Commission) has approved funding to its second round of 2020 recipients for a total of $ 7,053,759. The Commission has also issued a Request for Applications (RFAs) for its first round of funding for fiscal year 2021 and is looking to continue accelerating cutting-edge research and cures through the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund (MSCRF).

Established under the Maryland Stem Cell Research Act of 2006, the MSCRF promotes state-funded stem cell research and cures through grants to both public and private entities in Maryland. MSCRF is currently budgeted to commit up to $8.2 million, in aggregate, in FY2021 to fund grants under all of its RFAs.

“In the midst of these unsettled and challenging times, we remain committed to identifying and supporting research and innovation in the field of regenerative medicine, to accelerate cures for devastating diseases,” said Dr. Debra Mathews, Chair of the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission. “We are excited to support these second round recipients in early-stage research through clinical trials. These awards exemplify the purpose and mission of the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund.”

“We are delighted to add these 23 innovative research projects, addressing a wide range of disease areas, to our existing portfolio,” said Dr. Amritha Jaishankar, Associate Director of MSCRF. “With these awards and the new RFAs announced today, we continue to build and grow our regenerative medicine community and we will continue to enable our scientists, clinicians and companies to develop novel stem cell-based approaches to combat critical unmet medical needs, including those related to the current COVID-19 pandemic.”

The second round of MSCRF awards for the 2020 fiscal year include:

  • 1 Clinical: This award is for Universities/Research Institutes or Companies that wish to conduct human stem cell-based clinical trials in the State of Maryland. Totaling $750,000, the clinical award recipient is Dr. Luis Garza from Johns Hopkins University.
  • 1 Commercialization: This award is for a Maryland-based start-up company to develop new human stem cell-based products. Totaling $300,000, the commercialization award recipient is Vita Therapeutics.
  • 1 Validation: This award supports faculty at Maryland-based Universities/Research institutes with IP for human stem cell-based technologies that require additional validation. Totaling $230,000, the validation award recipient is Dr. Chulan Kwon from Johns Hopkins University.
  • 4 Launch: These awards are to encourage new and new-to-the-field faculty to bring innovative research and technology to the regenerative medicine field. Totaling $ 1,334,462, the Launch award recipients are Drs. Xia Feng, Tae In Kam, Byoung Chol Oh and Sashank Reddy from Johns Hopkins University.
  • 11 Discovery: These awards fund innovative ideas to develop novel human stem cell-based technologies and cures. Totaling $3,789,297, the discovery award recipients include Drs. Jeff Bulte, Alan Friedman, Yingli Fu, Hanseok Ko, Vassilis Koliatsos, Linda Resar, Jeffrey Rothstein and Elias Zambidis from Johns Hopkins University and Drs. Muthukumar Gunasekaran, Xiaofeng Jia and Tami Kingsbury from University of Maryland – Baltimore.
  • 5 Post-Doctoral Fellowship: These awards support exceptional post-doctoral fellows conducting research in Maryland. Totaling $650,000, award recipients include Drs. Su Bin Lim and Seong Hyun Park from Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Laura D’Ignazio from Lieber Institute for Brain Development, and Drs. Ji Young (Julie) Choi and Dipankar Dutta from University of Maryland – College Park.

More information about all current MSCRF awardees is available at The Commission also issued RFAs for the MSCRF Validation, Commercialization and Clinical programs. Under this funding cycle, all research proposals must pertain to human stem cell-based therapy and regenerative medicine. All applications are due by July 15, 2020.

About the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission

The Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission is focused on identifying and fostering cutting-edge research and innovation in the field of regenerative medicine in Maryland. Our Accelerating Cures initiative comprises programs that help transition human stem cell-based technologies from the bench to the bedside as well as mechanisms to build and grow stem cell companies in Maryland. Visit us at to learn more about our funding opportunities.


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