$1 716 030
Statement of Benefit to California:
This grant proposal will establish an internship program for undergraduate and master’s level graduate students at a state university in partnership with four host institutions. The host institutes include three non-profit and one for-profit organization. The internship will begin with a two-week stem cell short coarse at a host institution, introducing the participants to practical and hands-on human and animal embryonic and adult stem cell culture methods and genetic analysis. Following this course, the fellows will begin the 12-month internship in stem cells at a participating host institution. Interns will participate in colloquia in which a fellow will present a one-hour talk on his/her research to his/her peers, staff and advisory board members. Fellows will also be required to attend one research seminar per week at the home or host institution. Upon completion of the 12-month internship, the BS candidate will be required to submit a 25-page research paper that focuses on the research carried out during the internship. MS candidates will integrate their internship research into their 3-year thesis research, culminating in the defense of their thesis. The goal of the program is to prepare fellows with skills necessary to pursue research in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. The review panel regarded the training plan as carefully designed and clearly outlined. The concept of dividing the program into three phases - pre-internship, internship and post-internship was praised for allowing seamless integration of the training program into BS and MS degree programs. Reviewers recognized the strength of the program for requiring one year mentored research and completion of course in stem cell biology during the course of this program. One reviewer was concerned by the lack of details on the names and specific research interest of the faculty members from the home institution that will be involved in the development of course and in mentoring the students. Also there was some concern about having the internship coordinator be the sole decision maker of the interns acceptance and placement of the interns to host institutions without students participation in the decision making process. Institutional and partnering arrangements were considered to be strong. As an institution with a high percentage of minority students, reviewers thought the home and host institutions would provide good career opportunities in stem cell biology. Reviewers found the program director to be well qualified with good track record in publications as well as experience in administrative positions. Overall, reviewers were enthusiastic about recommending this training program, as it would provide significant opportunities to students for engaging in stem cell research.