Year 2

Public Summary of Scientific Progress

The primary goal of the San José State University Consortium for Stem Cell Internships in Laboratory-based Learning (SJSU SCILL) is to continue to provide the State of California and the central coast region with well-educated scientists who are proficient in stem cell biology at the graduate level. The program is designed to equip students with a broad-based understanding of stem cell biology through classroom instruction and seminars, and in-depth, laboratory-based expertise in a specialty area unique to each student’s professional development plan through a yearlong internship. These experiences are built on the foundation of a strong stem cell biology curriculum and classroom laboratory experience at San José State University, coupled with an array of stem cell internship opportunities.
The core stem cell biology curriculum continues to include: Stem cell lab, lecture, journal club, research project presentations, Molecular biology, Developmental biology, Flow cytometry, and scientific writing.
In addition, specific to CIRM 2 round of funding, our program incorporated three new classes:

1) Patient Engagement and Interaction-students were trained in topics such as challenges facing and communicating with chronic patients, respectful interaction, mock interactions with patients and providing feedback on those interactions. They obtained lectures from Guy Livneh- AML patient, Colleen O’Leary-Kelley – Ph.D., RN Director of Nursing, Dr. Santiago, Dr. Andrushka, and Dr. Schuele (Parkinson’s). 

We expanded the collaboration with Parkinson’s Institute for students volunteering activities. Students shadowed physicians visits with patients, participated in physical therapy sessions and contributed to voice recording activities for speech therapy. It was moving to assess the students feedback on these activities. They all commented on the overwhelming and humbling experience from participating in the intimate visits with patients. Some of the students were exposed for the first time to chronic disease patients in general, and in particular, Parkinson patients at various stages. Students appreciated this experience and commented on the new perspective that this activity contributed to the significance of stem cell research. This was a valuable and successful module and we are very appreciative of the efforts and contribution from the Parkinson’s Institute team and especially Dr. Schuele who facilitated this segment of our program.

2) Bench to Bedside- providing a sense of the process of translating a research study into a therapy. Students will attend in the Fall a new 3 unit graduate class on product development offered by Dr. Mark W. Schwartz former CEO and expert in biotech topics.

3) Community Outreach-students prepared a presentation on stem cell promises and each delivered at least 3 presentations at various Community colleges, high schools, and middle schools. Also, as part of this module, students received a lecture and guidance on stem cell advocacy from Kevin McCormack from CIRM. Students also participated in several diseases “walks” and we put together a stem cell awareness day open to the public and SJSU students.

As far as the internship portion of the program- we enrolled new biotech collaborators. The current cohort is placed for internships at Stanford, Parkinson’s Institute and 4 biotech companies: Amgen, Asteria Biotherapeutics, NotableLlabs and NeoCyte.

We recently finalized the enrollment of a new cohort that will start the program in the Fall SCILL 2018. All 10 spots available are filled. We are looking forward to a new successful CIRM/Bridges/SCILL program.