The Torrance-based Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center announced Friday that it was awarded a $5 million grant that will help it recruit and retain the best researchers in the regenerative medicine field.

The five-year grant was awarded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and will help fund the institute’s Ph.D. students, postdoctoral fellows and clinical fellows in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.

“This is monumental and places the Institute among the ranks of leading research centers for innovative stem cell research” said David Meyer, president and CEO of the Lundquist Institute.

“I want to thank the CIRM as well as all those here at TLI who collaborated to submit our successful application. Without a doubt, this grant means that the Institute can now recruit, train and retain the best researchers in regenerative medicine while expanding and enhancing our already-groundbreaking work in translational research.”

The institute will also use the grant to support the creation of a stem cell-focused research program that will emphasize translational significance, ethical considerations within the field and keep the stem cell community informed on technological advances. The institute expects the grant will help it retain stem cell researchers by giving them access to new companies based at its campus.

“We are thrilled to have received this distinguished award from CIRM,” said Jody Spillane, administrative director of the program and senior vice president for Public Affairs.

“We are very proud that our program has a very diverse graduate student cohort, 50% of whom are first-generation college students. As the Institute continues to push forward with its diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, this grant will help support our students in their careers and as they pursue interests in the field of stem cell research.

“Coupled with our already in place community outreach programs that are focused on translational research including stem cell research and regenerative medicine, this award will add to the Institute’s growing impact as a research powerhouse,” Spillane said.

The Lundquist Institute said it believes its stem cell program will be unique because the training will be on applications to stem cell approaches to developmental programming, which it said is a critical part of the pathogenesis of many pediatric- and adult-onset conditions like asthma, diabetes, obesity, chronic lung disease and more.

“The CIRM grant is a testament to the hard work of our investigators, the program administration and to the success of our graduate program in Translational Medicine,” said Ashraf Ibrahim, director of the TLI Graduate Studies Program. “Today, with this grant, we have taken a major leap in achieving our goals in graduating the next superstars of scientists/entrepreneurs in translational medicine.”

The Lundquist Institute is the largest independent nonprofit biomedical research institution in Los Angeles County.

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