CIRM Bridges to the Stem Cell Research Training Grant

CIRM Bridges to the Stem Cell Research Training Grant

Funding Type: 
Bridges
Grant Number: 
TB1-01186
Approved funds: 
$3,488,398
Public Abstract: 
The field of stem cell biology has developed into a rapidly expanding technology offering novel therapeutic approaches to human disease. California has taken the lead in the development and expansion of these technologies. There is critical need to recruit, educate, and train the next generation of scientists that will work on achieving these goals. The focus of our program will be to recruit students from California’s large and diverse population, and to provide them with the educational and technical skills that will allow them to pursue careers in stem-cell research. The strength of our proposal include our ability to effectively utilize our geographical location by recruiting students from our home institution and community college partners and train them effectively to carry out successful research internships with our host institutions. The greatest key to the success of our plan relies on our geographical location and the collaborations and partnerships we established throughout our region. We have established partnerships with the leaders in stem cell research in academia including the [REDACTED]. In addition, or students will have the option to intern in premiere biotechnology companies including [REDACTED]. Furthermore, we propose to develop a seminar series and enhanced curriculum that will serve to educate the general student population and community on the progress and potential of stem cell research. Our collaborative commitments with our community college, academic and industry partners will ensure the success of our students and ultimate progress in regenerative medicine. We will recruit and select a minimum of thirty students, ten students per year, from three different academic institutions. These students will then be matched with host internships labs through an interview process. Once the students have been matched with a lab, each cohort of ten students will attend the Stem Cell Techniques course developed at [REDACTED]. Once completed, students will be placed in a 12-month internship experience at one of the labs mentioned above. During this time, they will be enrolled full-time at the originating institution and will also attend a seminar series. We believe that through our fortunate geographical location, access to diverse students and research opportunities and development of new programs we will be creating and contributing exceptional prospects for the creation of a new Stem Cell workforce of California.
Statement of Benefit to California: 
Stem cell biology has developed into a rapidly expanding technology offering novel therapeutic approaches to human disease. California has taken the lead in the development and expansion of these technologies. There is critical need to recruit, educate, and train the next generation of scientists that will work on achieving these goals. The focus of our program will be to recruit students from California’s large and diverse population, and to provide them with the educational and technical skills that will allow them to pursue careers in stem-cell research. Our benefit to the state of California comes from increasing the stem cell research workforce available and educating the general public about stem cell research. We will train 30 new undergraduate students with specific expertise in new and innovative stem cell research. Furthermore, we will be developing the academic coursework to teach all students, through general education-level courses and major-specific courses, about stem cells, including research, ethics and opportunities. This proposal will greatly increase the knowledge about stem cells to the general public as well as specifically aiding in the development of the future workforce of stem cell researchers in California.
Progress Report: 

Year 1

During the reporting period, we have contributed and strengthened the future of stem cell research in California in several ways. The most immediate and direct impact has been in the students that were trained as Bridges interns. There were 20 individual students that were specifically trained in stem cell research and worked closely with the most talented and productive stem cell researchers in our region. These students come from diverse backgrounds, including ethnic representation, age and genders. These students are the future of stem cell research as they continue in their laboratories, complete their academic degrees or move onto advanced education. For example, we have students from the previous reporting period that are graduating with their undergraduate degree and are now entering PhD programs. These successes would not have been possible without the Bridges to Stem Cell Research training. As part of our focus on training students in stem cell research and recruiting a diverse pool of applicants into the program, we performed several activities. One of our courses in the previous reporting periods, Cellular Biotechnology, emphasized stem cell research in theory and practice. Beyond specific coursework, we also held a stem cell retreat for the incoming and outgoing Bridges interns. The outgoing Bridges interns presented their research to the campus. We moreover had a workshop to prepare the next set of students that were preparing their applications to the program so they can understand the requirements and goals of the program. Lastly, we held an intern:mentor mixer function at CSUSM to acquaint new Bridges interns with the available mentors and the research conducted in their laboratories. These different forums ensure that we train, recruit and support the science students and Bridges interns to successfully accomplish stem cell research. We have also exposed our campus and the general community to stem cell research through a seminar series supported by the Bridges to Stem Cell Research program. We have hosted six seminars, ranging from new techniques in industry to stem cells and infectious diseases, that has enhanced the exposure of these topics to our students, faculty, staff and community members. As part of our goals to educate non-scientists in stem cell research in California, we have impacted hundreds of CSUSM students through a non-majors course called Trends in 21st Century Medicine. This course has a large stem cell research emphasis and was offered through both semesters of the last reporting period. One additional effort to reach more individuals in California has been to provide talks to high schools on Stem Cell Awareness Day. Both the Program Director as well as previous Bridges interns went to multiple high schools and spoke to students. These efforts continue to emphasize our goal of reaching a larger audience in California.

© 2013 California Institute for Regenerative Medicine