Research Training II
$3 899 912
Statement of Benefit to California:
This is a competitive renewal application of a Type I training program. Funds to support six graduate students, six postdoctoral fellows and four clinician scientists are requested. The application represents a major effort by the host institution in basic and translation research in the field of stem cells. The training program will include core curriculum, with required and optional courses, laboratory work, seminars, journal clubs, stem cell symposia and scientific retreats. Reviewers considered the quality and design of the program to be excellent. The scope of the program was judged as suitable for providing the appropriate level of training in stem cell research. One reviewer expressed concern that only one week devoted to a laboratory techniques course on culturing hESC was insufficient to learn the necessary skills required to culture cells that are generally difficult to grow. The one-day workshop on the translational aspects of ES cell research at a local stem cell company was considered as a strength of the program. The quality of the environment, resources and faculty at the host institution was considered to be among the best in the nation. The progress of the ongoing CIRM-funded training program, as judged from the publication record of current trainees, appears to be good. The review panel found the program director to be exceptionally well qualified to lead the program. However, some concerns were raised about the commitment of only 2% effort by the program director for administering the program. Some of the review panel felt that the program director is over-committed, despite the superb qualifications, and that the program could suffer. The training program director will continue to be assisted by an associate director who is primarily responsible for the training of the clinician scientists. Reviewers found this division of supervisory roles to be fine. The review panel applauded the role of the seven member steering committee to oversee the progress of the training program biannually. The plan for monitoring trainee performance was considered to be thorough and complete. The review panel appreciated the fact that the host institution is making concerted efforts to increase diversity in the training program. Institutional commitment to the program was also judged to be strong. Overall reviewers were very enthusiastic about this training program.