Year 4

The Bridges to Stem Cell Research Internship Program (BSCRIP) has continued to build upon the past success of our Internship Program by including new or continuing coursework for interns, establishing new patient engagement and community outreach events, and requiring regulatory affairs training. Our expanded Program has accelerated the training and expansion of the pool of personnel with the expertise necessary to undertake careers in regenerative medicine. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated some changes to our Program, including the use of Zoom software for many events and meetings. Last year, ten highly competitive trainees were once again recruited from the university’s diverse student populations, including individuals from under-represented backgrounds that might not otherwise have had the chance to attain the essential expertise to contribute to the ultimate goal of delivering stem-cell based therapies to patients. A continuation of an optimized curriculum for Trainees at the home institution included a regulatory affairs course providing information about healthcare product regulation and development, colloquia and community outreach activities designed to provide students with educational and patient engagement opportunities, and participation in a biomedical ethics course. All interns participated in personalized patient engagement program, and trainees completed a comprehensive, externally-provided laboratory training course designed by PluriCORE and Dr. Victoria Fox which includes hands-on maintenance and characterization of human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells within a state-of-the-art Training Center designed by noted experts in the field. Trainees completed a 12-month internship experience at one of four partnering stem cell research facilities located nearby, or at local biotechnology companies specializing in human stem cell research and development. During the internship period, Trainees attended research seminars, met and presented their scientific progress at monthly colloquia with other trainees and participating host mentors and scientists, and present scientific posters encompassing their data at local, regional or international scientific meetings Рincluding ISSCR. The culmination of the training program was completed following submission of a written thesis and oral thesis defense for graduate-level trainees, a final Poster Presentation Symposium, and participation at the highly successful Annual CIRM Bridges Meeting located this year via Zoom. The training program enabled students of diverse background to contribute their knowledge and technical skills developed upon completion of the training period to the great promise of stem cell-based treatment therapies for patients.