Year 5

The State of California has made a commitment to support stem cell research and to advance work that will lead to diagnostics, therapies, and cures for human injury and disease. In the past year, the UCSC Training Program in Systems Biology of Stem Cells has assisted the State in reaching this goal by training 4 graduate students and 8 postdoctoral researchers in areas of basic stem cell research. Basic (or discovery) research uncovers the molecular and cellular details that instruct stem cells to remain as stem cells or to differentiate into the myriad types of cells of the human body. Knowledge of how stem cells function at this level is critical to utilizing them for devising medical breakthroughs. While in this program, trainees not only gain an education, they make important contributions to the research project they have mapped out with their mentor, which leads to publication and furthering the knowledge needed for stem cell medicine to succeed. The majority of our newly trained stem cell scientists have opted to stay in California to build their own careers: of those that pursue further training, 91% remain in California, of those that continue with academic teaching, research, or medical careers, 77% take a position in California and of those that work in the Biotech industry, 100% remain in California. Of the two predoctoral trainees and three postdoctoral trainees that completed their training in 2013-14, four have continued with stem cell based research academic appointments in California. Funds for the training program have greatly enhanced the research and training environment at University of California, Santa Cruz. The work of CIRM funded scholars have leveraged hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional grant funding and research gifts. They have helped attract internationally acclaimed faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students to almost double the program size. The research discoveries of the cohort are being published in internationally recognized peer reviewed journals.