The Humboldt State University (HSU) CIRM Bridges Training program has been one of the most effective training programs that we have been associated with over three decades. The design of our program to provide students selected to the program, initial training in stem cell biology and some undergraduate research experience has allowed them to flourish as independent researchers in their training laboratories in class I California research universities. After starting their training, in a short span of three to four months, we have witnessed the transformation of undergraduate students who earlier had to be forced to give scientific presentations to energetic young scientists eager to share their findings in a language that was foreign to them a few months back. More than 90% of HSU CIRM Bridges Trainees who have completed the program over the last nine years have been either employed in biotechnology or research laboratories or gained admission to graduate or professional programs. This exceptional rate of success can be attributed to the hard working nature of our students and the brilliant design of the CIRM Bridges Training program. The foresight of designing a program to meet the growing stem cell and regenerative medicine workforce demands has paid dividends. It is rare to find a state or national training program with such an incredible success rate.
In addition to the training of undergraduate students in stem cell and regenerative medicine, our grant also uses limited resources to promote CIRM and its goals. We invite leading scientists from major California research institutions (UC Davis, UCSF and Stanford University) to the campus to give public seminars on the more recent developments in the field of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. In addition, these scientists give scientific presentations to local physicians as part of grand rounds. This grant has also facilitated the establishment of a rigorous stem cell training program in Humboldt State University’s biology department. This program has made the community more aware of potential stem cell therapies for human diseases.