The sixth year of the San Diego State University (SDSU)/ California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Stem Cell Internship Program (SCIP) has provided eleven interns with the technical skills and the experience to work in the field of regenerative medicine. Many of these students, due to their background, would have otherwise not had access to research at this level. These students have worked directly with stem cells, both embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells, as well as other organisms used in the study of regenerative properties, e.g. zebra fish. The interns carried out their research at leading institutes in San Diego, including the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, the Scripps Research Institute, The Sanford/Burnham Medical Research Institute and the University of California, San Diego, as well as working in the Biotechnology industry via an internship with ThermoFisher Scientific. As a result of their training they will bring their knowledge of regenerative medicine into a great many areas of public interest, including basic and translational research, the biotech industry and medicine.
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. The SCIP Program has not only increased the pool of young investigators studying regenerative medicine, but also has also accelerated scientific progress in basic and translational stem cell research. Sixty-two students have successfully completed this program over the last six years.
Two of the interns from this cohort are authors on recently published journal articles. Three of our interns will begin PhD programs this fall and one will go on to medical school. Several others have either been hired in their host lab or are seeking positions as research technicians in this field.
We would also like to note, that one of our interns from the first cohort is truly moving the field ahead. He has worked in the same lab where he did his internship and very recently this lab has been awarded a CIRM Pre-Clinical Development Grant to continue the research he worked on as an intern.
Our students have also become representatives for the field of regenerative medicine, as well as for SDSU and CIRM. We believe strongly that the SCIP interns will continue to represent the field of regenerative medicine in their future endeavors as well. SCIP interns attended several meetings at both the regional and international level, including the Annual Stem Cell Meeting on the Mesa in La Jolla in October, 2014 and the Annual Meeting for the International Society for Stem Cell Research in Stockholm, in June 2015, where they met with experts in the field and presented their own research as part of the poster sessions. Our interns have also done outreach through this program, by getting information out to K-12 students. They participated in the College of Sciences Science Sampler, the kick-off event for the San Diego Science Festival that hosts over 100,000 students. Through this venue they spoke with students and their parents and showed them fun and interesting ways to learn about stem cells. They also presented their research at the SDSU Student Research Symposium, wherein they shared new, cutting edge science, in this field, with the entire university community.
Finally the SCIP Program has enabled SDSU to harness the great academic potential of student minds found in the largest and oldest higher education institution in San Diego County.