Our CIRM Bridges to Stem Cell Research Program
Established in 2009, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Bridges to Stem Cell Research program is a state government funded program aimed to broaden the participation in stem cell research by individuals representing the diversity of California’s population. California State Polytechnic University Pomona (CPP), the home institution, is collaborating with California State University Los Angeles (CSULA), to develop a quality stem cell education program. Their partnering continues an established tradition of collaborating on curriculum development and promoting faculty/student interactions. The program goals are: 1) to provide comprehensive stem cell training and research opportunities for qualified students; and 2) to give our large, ethnically diverse student populations a basic understanding of stem cell research.
We have commitments for internships in 63 research laboratories at 5 non-profit institutions (California Institute of Technology, City of Hope, The Scripps Research Institute, University of Southern California and Western University of Health Sciences). The internship program is integrated into the students' undergraduate BS (BS) or graduate (MS) programs. Ten students per year (3 undergraduates and 2 graduate students from each campus) are selected to participate in the stem cell research internships during the 3 year duration of this grant. Interns are selected by an Advisory Board composed of faculty and administrators from CPP and CSULA. The internship durations are 6 months for BS and 12 months for MS students.
Prospective students must take three upper division courses at CPP or CSULA to obtain an understanding of the principles of molecular and cellular biology, familiarity with molecular manipulation techniques, and experience with basic cell culture techniques. Since both CPP and CSULA have focused on developing cutting-edge molecular and cell biology curriculum, courses covering these topics are available (details under Graduate Student and Undergraduate Student tabs). Students are encouraged to enroll in a Stem Cell Biology course at CPP as one of the three upper division courses, available to students from both campuses. This course, taught by a stem cell biologist faculty member, gives students a better understanding of stem cell research as well as laboratory experience with human stem cells. Candidates must earn at least a ‘B’ in all three courses and have a 3.0 GPA. All interns participate in a 1-week Stem Cell Techniques Training course at the USC CIRM Shared Research Laboratory prior to starting their internships. The interns are assigned both a research mentor from the institution in which they will be doing their stem cell research and a CSU faculty mentor to guide them during their internships. Upon completion of their internships, interns give talks on their research at a CPP/CSULA symposium. To give additional CSU faculty and students the opportunity to become familiar with ongoing stem cell research, the program hosts two guest stem cell seminars/Quarter, one at CPP and one at CSULA.