The fourth year of the SDSU/CIRM Stem Cell Internship Program has provided eleven undergraduate students with the technical knowledge and the experience to work in the field of regenerative medicine. The majority of these students have worked directly with stem cells at leading institutes in the San Diego area, including the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, the Scripps Research Institute, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the Sanford/Burnham Medical Research Institute and the University of California at San Diego. Many of these students, due to their backgrounds, would otherwise have no access to this state of the art training. As a result of this program, many of these students have graduated with the scientific skills needed to continue on in the field, doing direct research in both academia and the biotech industry. Furthermore, several of the students are continuing with their education in order to obtain higher degrees, at the Master’s and PhD levels.
Our program at SDSU has also provided the students with opportunities to gain further scientific knowledge of the field, outside their host labs, and to stretch themselves into becoming representatives for not only the field of regenerative medicine but also representatives of San Diego State University and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. They have become true scientists by attending several meetings at the international level, including Stem Cells on the Mesa in La Jolla in October of 2012 and recently, June 2013, the Annual Meeting of the ISSCR, in Boston, where they met with experts in the field and also presented their own research as part of the poster sessions.
Because these students have had extensive training and experience in state of the art laboratories, as well as opportunities to share their newly gained knowledge, their expertise will strengthen the field of stem cell research in California, and beyond, by not only increasing the pool of young investigators, but also through their work on further studies in basic research and in translating this basic research into medical treatments.