Year 3

San Francisco State University is a large, urban university serving a highly diverse student population. Our CIRM Bridges program has supported eight master’s-level trainees during this report period (2017-2018). These students were enrolled in two different master’s programs in Biology: six enrolled in the Master’s of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology with an emphasis in Stem Cell Biology (the “MS program”); and two enrolled in the Professional Science Master’s with a concentration in Stem Cell Science (the “PSM program”). The PSM program provides additional coursework 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, this group of CIRM Bridges trainees took core courses to build a strong foundation in developmental biology, stem cell science and biotechnology. After completing the first-year coursework, students participated in a week-long intensive Stem Cell Laboratory course taught by faculty at UCSF, where they learned 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. CIRM trainees conducted research using human progenitor or stem cells. At the end of their second year of training, the trainees completed a final master project report written in the form of a manuscript, in addition to an oral thesis defense. Since 2009, this effective training program has trained more than 110 students and led to more than 35 peer-reviewed journal publications by CIRM Bridges trainees. Mentoring and professional development are an integral part of the CIRM Bridges program. We exposed students to the various career opportunities available to them after graduation and offered resume and interview workshops to prepare students for job and graduate school applications. CIRM students attended monthly meetings with the Program Director (PD) to cover a range of topics, and met with alumni that are involved in stem cell research and/or are 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 advocacy groups and biotech/pharma professionals. 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.