Stem Cell Training Program at the Lundquist Institute

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Stem Cell Training Program at the Lundquist Institute

Statement of Benefit to California:
With the goals to recruit, train, retain, a California-based diverse stem cell workforce, and by educating the non-scientific general public on the clinical applications of stem cell research, including the ethical, legal, and social issues involved, this proposal advances the central mission of CIRM. Each of the three proposed goals addresses a specific facet of this proposal. The creation of a stem cell-focused program will accomplish the first goal, i.e., recruitment and high-quality training of researchers interested in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine utilizing the existing excellent technical, mentorship, and leadership resources. Although a graduate training program and multiple clinical fellowship programs are already in place on our campus, the establishment of a stem cell-focused training program will be the first on this campus, which is likely to not only infuse enthusiasm for stem cell research but is likely to inculcate life-long careers in the field. The proposed strategies to educate the public, specifically targeting the South Bay, on clinical applications and medical advances in stem cell biology and the ethical considerations involved allows achieving the second goal. This is highly relevant since the personal beliefs on stem cell research are highly variable, but many of these are based on incomplete and often inaccurate information. Providing accurate information and keeping the public updated on technological advances in the field are highly important for the conceptual acceptance of stem cell research, participation in clinical trials, and future tax-payer funding initiatives. This complements our already existing and highly effective community engagement and teaching programs in many areas, e.g., obesity control, smoking cessation, med-school for elementary school students, etc. The proposed strategy to capitalize on a host of local cutting-edge biotech companies involved in stem cell research to retain CIRM scholars achieves the third goal of this proposal. This will lead to an increase in a highly trained and diverse stem cell research-related workforce, benefitting both the CIRM scholars as well the State of California.