Year 1

We are a large, urban university serving a highly diverse student population. Our program supported 10 master’s-level trainees. These students were enrolled in two different master’s program in Biology: a Masters of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology with an emphasis in Stem Cell Biology (the “MS program”) and a Professional Science Masters with a concentration in Stem Cell Science (the “PSM program”). The PSM program provided additional course work in business and is tailored towards students interested in pursuing a position in the biotechnology sector upon graduation. During the first year of our program, CIRM Bridges trainees took core courses to build a strong foundation in stem cell science and biotechnology. After completing the first-year course work, students participated in a week-long intensive Stem Cell Laboratory course taught by faculty at one of the host sites where they will learn to propagate, maintain, and manipulate human stem cells. By the second year, all of the CIRM Bridges trainees had joined a stem cell research lab at one of our host institutions or affiliated stem cell companies. All CIRM trainees conducted research using human stem cells. At the end of their second year of training, trainees completed a final master project report written in the form of a manuscript as well as an oral thesis defense. This effective training has led to 28 publications by CIRM Bridges trainees in peer-reviewed journals. Mentoring and professional development are an integral part of the CIRM Bridges program. CIRM students attended monthly meetings with the Program Director (PD) to cover a range of topics as well meet alumni, that are involved in stem cell research and/or attending graduate or medical school programs. Students gained a broader introduction to the importance of stem cell research by interacting with guest speakers, including members of various patient advocate groups. The PD and Program Associate met regularly with the students and their research mentors to provide continuity of programming and ensure that the students thrived in their internships. The program is making important contributions to the development of a talented and diverse pool of trained professionals that will help advance CIRM’s mission to develop stem cell therapies to meet the medical needs of our state and nation.