Year 1

At the UC Davis Stem Cell Program, the CIRM Creativity Program fit well into our intention, to educate the future stem cell scientist of California. The CIRM Creativity Program is a novel internship program for high school students. It allows for these interns to work side by side with noted researchers in cutting edge stem cell research facilities, and is motivating and stimulating for young people. Based on our previous successful summer internship program, 10 highly interested and also talented students from Northern CA high schools were selected from the winners of the UC Davis Biotech Challenge Program. The students had to create a website featuring and discussing cutting edge science in the biomedical field, and present their work at a meeting. Ten winners were then selected and paired up with individual scientist mentors from the UC Davis Stem Cell Program (we have 29 laboratories the students could choose from) and took on projects involving the development of cutting edge stem cell treatments for heart disease, diseases that affect the brain, liver, kidney, and bladder disease, bone disease, skin disease, eye disease, HIV, and others. The summer project was structured so the students could complete a research project within the allowed timeframe and then generate a poster for a CIRM poster day held at Stanford University in August of 2012. In order for our interns to receive formal training in stem cell biology, they also participated in a class called “Stem Cell Biology and Manufacturing Practices” taught over the summer by the PI of this grant. This class also called for hands on training in Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)(the production of clinical grade materials for stem cell trials) inside the CIRM funded UC Davis Good Manufacturing Practice facility. The students took two written exams and one practical exam, including an exam inside the GMP facility. They all earned a training certificate, which they truly deserved, as all of the student interns passed their exams. The individual mentors and the PI supervised the students in creating their research poster, and also selected one student speaker who was to present the summer research project in an oral presentation on poster day. Additionally, all students presented their posters in front of their peers and CIRM officers. All of our summer interns also participated in a second, not stem cell research related activity. As the PI of this award has also been continuously teaching, for the last 7 years, an accredited college seminar called “The History of the Motion Pictures” at the UC Davis main campus and is an expert in film history and its technical development, the students became involved in this subject. First, the development of motion pictures, over the last 100 years, from the scientific, technical and artistic side was discussed. This allowed the students to see what effort it took to get motion pictures from parlor exhibitions into 16 theater multiplexes, as we are used to today. A special effort was put into explaining to students the development of color film, which has an extensive history, starting at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, with being fully developed in the early 1930s. The interesting part of this second activity was that the students did not see this in lectures on slides or in books, they got to experience this by the seeing and interacting with the original historic film and equipment, hands on. They were able to see a 75 year old, original Technicolor film print run on original historic film equipment, in the proper historic setting. This was a very unique opportunity for the students, as movie theaters do not show actual film anymore. The second activity complemented excellently their summer research project in the laboratory, as the students were able to see how much scientific and technical effort it took to develop motion pictures into this huge industry that we know currently, and how much artistic and creative talent and development it has taken to come to the artistic level required for movies to become “the” art form of the 20th century. It also became clear to the students, through comparison with the development of the motion picture industry, that a new field, such as stem cell science today, needs dedicated, highly skilled and hard working individuals who will persevere to become successful and at the same time, make the new field successful. The internship program really inspired these young people who spent their summer with us, as our interns expressed their desire to continue their education in the biological / biotech field. Excellent researchers and highly skilled biotechnology laboratory personnel will be needed in the near and extended future to produce stem cell treatments in California which are currently developed and moved into the clinic by CIRM funded stem cell research laboratories. These young people are the future of California’s health and economy.