Human Stem Cell Research

For the purpose of compliance with government regulations and UC policy, the term “human stem cell research” includes all research involving human embryonic stem cells (hESC), induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, neural progenitor cells, human embryos, human gametes, and other potentially pluripotent cells.

The UCSF Human Gamete, Embryo, and Stem Cell Research Committee (GESCR) functions as the Stem Cell Research Oversight (SCRO) Committee for the UC Santa Cruz campus through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). GESCR is responsible for:

  • Developing procedural guidelines for human stem cell research that are in accordance with appropriate government regulations;
  • Establishing categories of research that require different levels of review by GESCR;
  • Reviewing, requiring modification, or disapproving human stem cell research protocols; 
  • Reviewing and making recommendations on ethical issues regarding human stem cell research when requested by the vice chancellor for research, oversight and advisory committees (e.g., IRB, IBC, IACUC), or individual researchers; and 
  • Overseeing requirements for training in human stem cell ethics as required under guidelines from the National Academies of Science and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Learn what research requires GESCR review.

Conducting human stem cell research at UC Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz activities involving any human stem cell research shall be conducted in accordance with applicable federal, state, and funding agency regulations, including any restrictions on the use of federal funds for such research under the NIH Stem Cell Guidelines.

Procedures for conducting human stem cell research at UC Santa Cruz

  • All individuals conducting human stem cell research must submit an application to the GESCR for review and approval prior to initiation of the study. Application procedures are under How to apply for a GESCR approval.
  • UC Santa Cruz must retain records for active UC Santa Cruz human stem cell research studies. Documentation of GESCR review and approval must be provided by researchers to ORCA as follows:
    • For activities that may involve human subjects research, initiate a Cayuse Human Ethics submission to determine whether the activities represent human subjects research. The final GESCR application and approval letter should be attached in the appropriate section of the study submission. 
    • For animal research activities, send the final GESCR application and approval letter to
    • Obtain approval from the UC Santa Cruz Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), if applicable.  
  • Investigators who are conducting research deriving or using human embryonic stem cells that are not on the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry must adhere to all terms of the NIH Stem Cell Guidelines, and should charge the costs of the research to appropriate non-federal funding sources.   
How to apply for a GESCR approval

UC Santa Cruz partners with UC San Francisco’s GESCR committee to review GESCR activity. New and renewal GESCR applications, whether or not they involve human subjects, must be submitted to UC San Francisco through their iRIS system via an affiliate account.

Application submission, review, and modification instructions can be found on UCSF’s GESCR Submission and Review Process page.

Questions about GESCR applications can be directed to:

Cheri Etter, CIP
GESCR Coordinator/ Expedited and Exempt Coordinator
UC San Francisco
(415) 476-8714

Stem cell research links
Last modified: May 01, 2024