Cardinal George Pell today announced that the Archdiocese of Sydney’s $100,000 grant to support adult stem cell research has been won by an Adelaide-based research team, led by Associate Professor Stan Gronthos (Mesenchymal Stem Cell Group, Bone and Cancer Laboratories, Hanson Institute), and Dr Simon Koblar (Schools of Medicine and Molecular Biomedical Science, Australian Research Council Centre for the Molecular Genetics of Development at the University of Adelaide).
Their success in winning the grant will enable Associate Professor Gronthos and Dr Koblar to investigate the capacity of stem cells derived from human dental pulp tissue to differentiate into neuronal cells, and hence whether they have the potential to be used in treating people who have suffered strokes.
Both researchers praised the contribution of their co-supervised PhD student, Dr. Agnieszka Arthur, who was instrumental in advancing these studies. Dr. Arthur is also a co-investigator on the grant and is currently undertaking her postdoctoral training at the Hanson Institute.
Cardinal Pell applauded the work being done by Associate Professor Gronthos and Dr Koblar and other researchers in Australia on therapeutic applications for adult stem cells.
“The project of Associate Professor Gronthos and Dr Koblar brings new ideas and new thinking to adult stem cell research, and to the search for new treatments for people who have had a stroke”, Cardinal Pell said.
“Their research will initiate and foster a new collaboration between researchers in this area, and I am particularly pleased that the grant from the Archdiocese of Sydney will make a significant contribution to ensuring that their research project goes ahead.
“This is exactly the sort of ethical, innovative and life-enhancing research that the grant was established to promote, and I am delighted that Associate Professor Gronthos and Dr Koblar will join the other distinguished winners of our previous grants in furthering this work.”
Ten highly competitive applications from stem cell researchers across Australia were received for this year’s grant. The applications were considered by an independent selection panel, which sought referees’ reports from one of two referees nominated by the applicant and a referee chosen by the selection panel.