Funding opportunities

Encouraging Creativity: Science Education Partnership for Regenerative Medicines

Funding Type: 
Creativity Awards
Grant Number: 
Funds requested: 
$236 610
Funding Recommendations: 
Not recommended
Grant approved: 
Public Abstract: 
We will continue SEPs & continue to train students to do regenerative medicine research.We will recruit, interview & train 21 scientists the next 3 summers.Our website application will be modified to recruit students with secondary activities & minorities.We receive 50 appl/yr for each position; we have no trouble identifying minority students & students with secondary skills as we have done in the past. Traditionally, secondary skills have involved music & art.We will hold a secondary skills craft shows at the end of each week and summer. We present our research at two major high school convocations.These events are sponsored by the local Science Alliance & draw over 2000 students for students to sign up & compete for a research position. Applications are taken & if selected, students come for interviews with the scientific staff.We advertise online & at the electronic bulletin board with the Science Alliance.We have never had a shortage of applicants.Once selected, they undergo rigorous immersion in the field of study (SC biology, regenerative medicine or analytical sciences) as well as full indoctrination in laboratory safety.We have presented widely to local high schools about SC research & this has provided additional access to science teachers with high caliber students & minority students interested in research. We have trained the top science high school students in the area resulting in 2 MDs and 2 PhDs. One year, we had 2/3 finishers in the local ACS Chem Olympiad.
Statement of Benefit to California: 
13% of PhDs working in US biotech & Pharma were trained in [REDACTED] CA. This remarkable fact underscores the importance of continuing to train local scientists for CA & the country as a whole because the life blood of scientific endeavor is highly dependent on it. Our research is directly related to the needs of the CA community because of future need in regenerative medicines.In the future, to fuel these economic engines for SC applications, students need to be trained & mentored in regenerative medicine. After advanced degrees, most of our students return to CA & a PhD/MD supports employment for 5-6 CAs. Training minority students to play a vital role in these industries is a goal of our institute. 70% of our grads have been minorities. They do full-time basic research under mentorship of a PhD & incorporated into a manuscript for submission for publication or acknowledged for their work. Student interns have published 5 papers (as authors) & other interns (8) were cited in the acknowledgements.Depending on the interest of the student, each student will be enrolled into a research project that suits their career aspirations. An important activity is the training & development of young scientists through SEPs.Ultimately, the training of local scientists will inure to the benefit of CA as their research & development efforts will be translated into useful medicines for use in our community.The goal of our work: to benefit the youth as well as the medical & health needs of CA.
Review Summary: 
This is an established program that has provided 75 internships over the past twelve years. Reviewers found the Program Director to be an experienced scientist and identified some evidence of past success of the program. However, a number of major concerns significantly reduced reviewers’ enthusiasm. Reviewers described the program’s focus on small molecule screening and chemistry as interesting but substantially outside the scope of the RFA. The proposal provided little evidence that the applicant institution has much activity or expertise in stem cell research. Reviewers considered the proposed second discipline activity as extremely limited, of questionable value and poorly integrated into the rest of the program. Finally, reviewers were disappointed with the lack of information about potential mentors. In summary, reveiwers were not supportive of this proposal as it lacked a number of relevant and key elements such as evidence of stem cell research, plans for student evaluation, mentor information, and a limited scope for the secondary discipline.
Programmatic review: 
  • A motion was made to not recommend this application for funding. The motion carried.

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