USC gets $2.1M grant for stem cell research

The University of Southern California (USC) Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry has received a $2.1 million grant for stem cell research.

The five-year grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) will help researchers understand what causes stem cells to transform into different types of cells, according to the university.

Yang Chai, PhD, DDS, associate dean of research, will lead the research. Dr. Chai and colleagues hope that a better understanding of this transformation will give scientists the ability to control the process.

"For us to regenerate any tissue or organ, we need to know what controls that process," Dr. Chai stated in a press release. "So by learning how nature has set up this process, we can recreate an environment that is similar and be able to build an organ."

The potential of the research may go beyond restorative or endodontic dentistry and help surgeons attempting to correct birth defects such as cleft lip, cleft palate, or skull malformations.

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