CIRM Stem Cell Research Biotechnology Training Program

CIRM Stem Cell Research Biotechnology Training Program

Funding Type: 
Bridges
Grant Number: 
TB1-01182
Award Value: 
$2,945,928
Status: 
Active
Public Abstract: 
The proposed project has three major goals. The first is educating the public about the medical, biological, and technological advances of stem cell research and recruiting new scientists into the workforce. The second is training the students in the theory and techniques of stem cell research. The third is retaining these trainees in the California workforce by providing specialized training and laboratory internships, which will lead to long-term career opportunities in stem cell research in California. To educate non-scientists and to increase the number of informed California citizens in the theory and potential of stem cell research, a new general education course will be developed at a local community college as a bridge to our comprehensive university program. A new module also will be added to our existing large, lower division, general education lecture course “Introduction to Human Diseases.” This course may be the only life sciences many students will learn in college and could initiate a life-long appreciation of the biological sciences, including stem cell technologies. Such an appreciation will have a significant impact on our society given the role of the voting population in the funding and promoting of advanced technologies. The California stem cell research workforce will be enhanced by recruiting up to ten students each year to enter a new, two-year, stem cell training option which will be added to an existing Biotechnology Certificate Program. The first year will be training at our institution, and the second will be internships at stem cell host institutions Of the approximately 2000 students in Chemistry and the Biological Sciences, those interested in the program will enroll in specific fall semester courses as part of their B.S. or M.S. degree plan, or in the Biotechnology Certificate Program. Exceptional students from this pool who demonstrate reliability and motivation will be invited to apply for the internship. Students who are accepted will attend a stem cell techniques course at [REDACTED] and will choose the host stem cell research laboratory for their ten-month internship at either the [REDACTED] or [REDACTED]. The students will be extensively mentored throughout the program. Trainee progress will be assessed via standardized reporting, which will be completed by the students and the head of the host laboratories. The program will include a program director and an Advisory Committee consisting of the Program Director, two representatives from our institution, and one representative from each of the collaborating institutions. [REDACTED] has a long history of successfully training large numbers of students for the California workforce and for graduate study. The CIRM Bridges to stem cell research training program will integrate well with the existing programs and augment the Biotechnology Certificate Program.
Statement of Benefit to California: 
The goals of the proposed program include training students to enter the stem cell research workforce, recruiting students to work in stem cell laboratories, and educating non-scientists in the theory and potential of stem cell research. The proposed project has three major facets. The first is educating the public about the medical, biological, and technological advances of stem cell research and recruiting new scientists into the workforce. The second is training students in the theory and techniques of stem cell research. The third is retaining these trainees in the California workforce by providing specialized training and experience that will lead to career opportunities in stem cell research in California. To educate non-scientists and to increase the number of informed California citizens in the theory and potential of stem cell research, a new general education course will be developed at a local community college as a bridge to the our comprehensive university program. A new module will also be added to our existing large, lower division, general education lecture course “Introduction to Human Diseases”. This course is extremely important because this is, in many cases, the only life sciences many students will learn in college. This course could instill excitement and enthusiasm for life-long learning in students, many of whom dislike or are fearful of science. This is critical for personal well being, and may have a significant impact on our society given the role of the voting population in the funding and promotion of advanced technologies. We enroll just under 38,000 students who reflect the ethnically diverse population of the surrounding area. The stem cell training program can be integrated into many of our existing B.S. and M.S. degree programs, and ensures the currency of courses for many of our students. The Biotechnology Certificate Program was established at our institution in 1994 to train undergraduate, post baccalaureate, and Master’s degree students to enter the California workforce. The stem cell training program will become an option in this program. The current Biotechnology Program is open to all B.S. and M.S. degree students in the departments of Biological Sciences and Chemistry & Biochemistry (approximately 2000 students), and qualified post baccalaureate students. This new option will take two years to complete. The first year will be training at our institution, and the second will be internships at stem cell host institutions. We plan to train up to ten students each year in this internship program. [REDACTED] has a long history of successfully training large numbers of students for the California workforce and for graduate study. Both the students and the State of California will greatly benefit from this training program as it will facilitate the establishment and maintenance of active stem cell research laboratories and the translation of this technology into the regenerative medicine marketplace.
Progress Report: 

Year 1

The CIRM-funded California State University Long Beach (CSULB) stem cell biotechnology project has three major goals. The first is educating the public about the medical, biological, and technological advances of stem cell research and recruiting new scientists into the workforce. The second is training the students in the theory and techniques of stem cell research. The third is retaining these trainees in the California workforce by providing specialized training and laboratory internships, which will lead to long-term career opportunities in stem cell research in California. To educate non-scientists and to increase the number of informed California citizens in the theory and potential of stem cell research, a new general education course was developed at a local community college (Irvine Valley College) as a bridge to our comprehensive university program (CSULB). At CSULB a stem cell/regenerative medicine module was added to the existing large, lower division, general education lecture course “Introduction to Human Diseases.” Either of these may be the only life sciences course many students take in college and could initiate a life-long appreciation of the biological sciences, including stem cell technologies. Such an appreciation will have a significant impact on our society given the role of the voting population in the funding and promoting of advanced technologies. To educate science students, two courses were developed, “Stem Cell Biology” and “Bioethics & Public Policy,” and have been integrated into the Biological Sciences curriculum. Any of the more than two thousand qualified students (meeting the course prerequisites) may enroll in these courses as part of their B.S., M.S., or Biotechnology Certificate program. The content from these courses should also be introduced to the general public as a number of the students enrolled in these classes are junior high or high school science teachers. Undergraduate, graduate, and post‐baccalaureate certificate students who excelled in these courses, and demonstrated reliability and motivation, have been encouraged to apply for the stem cell internship. Candidates are selected based on their performance in prerequisite courses, a resume, a personal statement, a letter of recommendation from their research advisor, and an interview. The California stem cell research workforce has been enhanced by the recruitment of up to ten students each year to enter this two-year stem cell training option, which was added to the existing Biotechnology Certificate Program. The first year is training at CSULB, and the second is a CIRM-funded internship at a stem cell host institution; UCI or the City of Hope. Once accepted, students meet regularly with a CSULB mentor‐advisor to ensure that the training they receive is consistent with their professional goals. In 2012-2013 academic year, the program was again full to capacity. Those students selected for this program took a tissue culture/stem cell techniques course, which included a week of intensive stem cell training at Children’s Hospital Orange County (CHOC). The interns were “matched” with stem cell host laboratories at City of Hope (CoH) or University of California at Irvine (UCI) where they performed their ten‐month (two semester) full‐time internships. During their internships at the host institutions, the CSULB‐CIRM interns met regularly with the internship mentor at CSULB who provided academic and professional support. The host researchers (PIs) formally evaluated the students by completing assessment forms and meeting with the CSULB internship mentor during site visits. At the beginning and end of the internship period, the students evaluated their internship experience. Data from these evaluations are used to assess the students, to assess the program, and to identify areas for improvement. One hundred percent of the students completing this program have been offered positions for further study or employment in the stem cell biotechnology workforce. Many of these students are currently employed in California as research technicians (41%), others have continued their studies in M.S. (31%) or Ph.D. programs (22%), and a few are in Medical School (6%). During the internship the students were involved in a variety of projects including exploring cures for brain cancer and leukemia, treating spinal cord injury, and basic research on stem cell biology. Their research as interns has contributed to many scientific publications and clinical trials. CSULB has a long history of successfully training large numbers of students for the California workforce and for graduate study. The CIRM Bridges stem cell research training program integrates well with the existing programs and dramatically augments the existing CSULB Biotechnology Certificate Program. Moreover, it generates highly technically trained individuals who will enhance future biomedical research in California.

Year 2

The CIRM funded California State University Long Beach (CSULB) stem cell biotechnology project has three major goals. The first is educating the public about the medical, biological, and technological advances of stem cell research and recruiting new scientists into the workforce. The second is training the students in the theory and techniques of stem cell research. The third is retaining these trainees in the California workforce by providing specialized training and laboratory internships, which will lead to long-term career opportunities in stem cell research in California. To educate non-scientists and to increase the number of informed California citizens in the theory and potential of stem cell research, a new general education course was developed at a local community college (Irvine Valley College) as a bridge to our comprehensive university program (CSULB). At CSULB a stem cell/regenerative medicine module was added to the existing large, lower division, general education lecture course “Introduction to Human Diseases.” This may be the only life sciences course many students take in college and could initiate a life-long appreciation of the biological sciences, including stem cell technologies. Such an appreciation will have a significant impact on our society given the role of the voting population in the funding and promoting of advanced technologies. To educate science students, two courses were developed, “Stem Cell Biology” and “Bioethics & Public Policy,” and have been integrated into the Biological Sciences curriculum. Any of the more than two thousand qualified students (meeting the course prerequisites) may enroll in these courses as part of their B.S., M.S, or Biotechnology Certificate program. The content from these courses should also be introduced to the general public as a number of the students enrolled in these classes were high school or junior high school science teachers. Undergraduate, graduate, and post‐baccalaureate certificate students who excelled in these courses, and demonstrated reliability and motivation, were encouraged to apply for the stem cell internship. Candidates were selected based on their performance in prerequisite courses, a resume, a personal statement, a letter of recommendation from their research advisor, and an interview. The California stem cell research workforce has been enhanced by the recruitment of up to ten students each year to enter this two-year stem cell training option, which was added to the existing Biotechnology Certificate Program. The first year is training at CSULB, and the second is CIRM-funded internships at stem cell host institutions UCI or the City of Hope. Once accepted, students meet regularly with a CSULB mentor‐advisor to ensure that the training they receive is consistent with their professional goals. In 2013-2014 academic year, the program was again full to capacity. Those students selected took a tissue culture/stem cell techniques course, which included a week of intensive stem cell training at the University of Southern California (USC). The interns were “matched” with stem cell host laboratories at City of Hope (CoH) or University of California at Irvine (UCI) where they performed their ten‐month (two semester) full‐time internships. During their internships at the host institutions, the CSULB‐CIRM interns met regularly with the internship mentor at CSULB who provided academic and professional support. The host PIs formally evaluated the students. This evaluation process included completion of assessment forms and meetings with the CSULB internship mentor during site visits. At the beginning and end of the internship period, the students evaluated their internship experience. Data from these evaluations is used to assess the students, to assess the program, and to identify areas for improvement. Nearly one hundred percent of the students completing this program have been offered positions for further study or employment in the stem cell biotechnology workforce. Many of these students are currently employed in California as research technicians (35%), others have continued their studies in M.S. (28%) or Ph.D. programs (25%), a few are in Medical School (6%), and a few are teaching science (6%). During the internship the students were involved in a variety of projects including exploring cures for brain cancer and leukemia, treating spinal cord injury, and basic research on stem cell biology. Their research as interns has contributed to many scientific publications and clinical trials. CSULB has a long history of successfully training large numbers of students for the California workforce and for graduate study. The CIRM Bridges to stem cell research training program integrates well with the existing programs and dramatically augments the Biotechnology Certificate Program. Moreover, it generates highly technically trained individuals who will enhance future biomedical research in California.

© 2013 California Institute for Regenerative Medicine