NCE (Year 7)

The training program funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has had a dramatic and long lasting impact on stem cell research on the UC Irvine campus and in the local region. The program supported 73 trainees including those supported by matching funds provided by UC Irvine. Trainees were graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and clinical fellows. The training program became the centerpiece of the stem cell research program at UC Irvine. Trainees were and continue to be involved in research in many schools of the campus including biological sciences, medicine and engineering and are dissecting questions associated with the use of stem cells for regenerative medicine. The availability of such a training program has been of enormous benefit in recruiting new faculty since they see the availability of support for new trainees. Through this training grant funding, the trainees have been able to attend many national stem cell and regenerative medicine meetings that have allowed them to both present their data and to get feedback from experts in the field. The trainees have also participated in many public outreach activities in which they have had the opportunity to present and explain their work to a lay audience. With public funding of research, we feel it is a responsibility to describe our work to the people who fund it. Moreover, the ability to describe science to a lay audience for fundraising purposes is becoming an important aspect of scientific training. The students, postdocs and clinical fellows have also published many important papers describing their work that has advanced the field of regenerative medicine. In this final reporting period, we have organized a 1 day retreat on May 2016 for all trainees in the Stem Cell Research Center. Although the training period for CIRM trainees had ended, we plan to continue to invite all CIRM trainees to take part in ongoing training activities to broaden their experiences and provide them a chance to collaborate with other trainees and faculty. For those trainees that have left the program we will continue to involve them in future training activities. These “CIRM Alumni” represent important networking partners for existing trainees and mentors and for the stem cell research program in general. In addition their skills represent an important experience base from which to draw. Our records indicate that all of our trainees have remained in areas related to CIRM goals. Half of our trainees are engaged in postdoctoral studies, twenty percent are practicing medicine, thirteen percent have obtained faculty positions and a further eleven percent have entered the biotech workforce. The remaining seven percent are engaged in intellectual property law and thus remain deeply involved in the goals of CIRM to advance stem cell research and regenerative medicine. This compares with traditional training programs where less than fifty percent of trainees remain in the field in which they trained. This remarkable training experience pays testament to the visionary goals of CIRM that inspired many trainees and faculty to enter this field.