Stem Cell Agency Invests $46 Million in New Education Program

South San Francisco, CA – Today the governing Board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) approved $46,076,430 to invest in its newest education pillar- the COMPASS (Creating Opportunities through Mentorship and Partnership Across Stem cell Science) training program.

Education is at the core of CIRM’s mission of accelerating world class science to deliver transformative regenerative medicine treatments in an equitable manner to a diverse California and world. And funding these additional programs is an important step in ensuring that California has a well-trained stem cell workforce.

The objective of COMPASS is to prepare a diverse cadre of undergraduate students for careers in regenerative medicine through combining hands-on research opportunities with strategic and structured mentorship experiences.

“Education and infrastructure are two funding pillars critical for creating the next generation of researchers and conducting stem cell based clinical trials,” says Jonathan Thomas, Ph.D., J.D., Chair of the CIRM Board. “The importance of these programs was acknowledged in Proposition 14 and we expect that they will continue to be important components of CIRM’s programs and strategic direction in the years to come.”

Most undergraduate research training programs, including those targeting students from underserved communities, target individuals with predefined academic credentials as well as a stated commitment towards graduate school, medical school, or faculty positions in academia. COMPASS will support the development and implementation of novel strategies to recognize and foster untapped talent that can lead to new and valuable perspectives that are specific to the challenges of regenerative medicine, and that will create new paths to a spectrum of careers that are not always apparent to students in the academic, undergraduate environment.

COMPASS will complement but not compete with CIRM’s Bridges program, a subset of which serve a different, but equally important population of undergraduate trainees; similarly, the program is unlikely to compete for the same pools of students that would be most likely to receive support through the major NIH Training Programs such as MARC and RISE.

Here are the 16 successful applicants.


Application number


Principal Investigator




The COMPASS Scholars Program – Developing Today’s Untapped Talent into Tomorrow’s STEM Cell Researchers



John Matsui, University of California, Berkeley






COMPASS Undergraduate Program


Alice F Tarantal, University of California, Davis







Research Mentorship Program in Regenerative Medicine Careers for a Diverse Undergraduate Student Body



Brian J. Cummings, University of California, Irvine








Cindy S Malone, The University Corporation at California State University, Northridge







COMPASS: Accelerating Stem Cell Research by Educating and Empowering New Stem Cell Researchers


Tracy L Johnson, University of California, Los Angeles







Training and mentorship program in stem cell biology and engineering: A COMPASS for the future


Dennis Clegg, University of California, Santa Barbara







Research Training and Mentorship Program to Inspire Diverse Undergraduates toward Regenerative Medicine

Careers (RAMP)


Huinan Hannah Liu, The Regents of the University of California on behalf of its Riverside Campus







Inclusive Pathways for a Stem Cell Scholar (iPSCs) Undergraduate Training Program



Lily Chen, San Francisco State University






A COMPASS to guide the growth of a diverse regenerative medicine workforce that represents California and benefits

the world


Kristen OHalloran Cardinal, Cal Poly Corporation, an Auxiliary of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo







Increase Diversity, Equity, and Advancement in Cell Based Manufacturing Sciences (IDEA-CBMS)


Michael Fino, MiraCosta College







COMPASS Program for Southern California Hispanic Serving Institution


Bianca Romina Mothé, California State University San Marcos Corporation







Student Pluripotency: Realizing Untapped Undergraduate Potential in Regenerative Medicine


Daniel Nickerson, California State University, San Bernardino







COMPASS: an inclusive Pipeline for Research and Other Stem cell-based Professions in Regenerative medicine




Alison Miyamoto, CSU Fullerton Auxiliary Services Corporation






Training Undergraduates in Stem Cell Engineering and Biology (TUSCEB)



Kara E McCloskey, University of California, Merced






COMPASS: Guiding Undergraduates to Careers in Regenerative Medicine



Senta Georgia, University of Southern California






IDEA-CBMS – Increase Diversity, Equity, and Advancement in Cell Based Manufacturing Sciences



James Dekloe, Solano Community College





About CIRM

At CIRM, we never forget that we were created by the people of California to accelerate stem cell treatments to patients with unmet medical needs, and act with a sense of urgency to succeed in that mission.

To meet this challenge, our team of highly trained and experienced professionals actively partners with both academia and industry in a hands-on, entrepreneurial environment to fast track the development of today’s most promising stem cell technologies.

With $5.5 billion in funding and more than 150 active stem cell programs in our portfolio, CIRM is one of the world’s largest institutions dedicated to helping people by bringing the future of cellular medicine closer to reality.

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