Funding students, fueling stem cell science

California State University Long Beach had a nice story today about their students funded by our Bridges to Stem Cell Research program. Mostly, CIRM funds science. But in order for that science to move forward we also need to make sure the state has enough trained stem cell scientists. What’s the point of fostering new labs and biotech companies without people who know how to handle the notoriously tricky cells?

Thus the Bridges program. We first funded the undergraduate and masters programs back in January 2009 (here’s our press release about the funding). Each of the 16 funded schools supports a handful of students who take classes and participate in research with collaborating institutions. As the first round of students complete their programs we’re hearing back that the students are being hired in large numbers by the labs where they did their internships.

One of the students in the CSULB story, Colleen Worne, had this to say about her internship:

“The CIRM program will equip me with the skills and techniques necessary to succeed under such challenging conditions and achieve my career goals,” she continued. “From a young age I have pursued my passion for biology and research, knowing that helping society in a scientific capacity was, and is, my goal. CSULB has provided me with the scientific background for acceptance into the CIRM program. I am beyond excited to start my lifetime pursuit made possible by such an amazing program.”

We produced a video about Bridges students and California State University San Francisco last year. It’s fun to see how excited the students are about pursuing stem cell science.