Funding opportunities

California State University-San Marcos CIRM Bridges to the Stem Cell Research Training Grant

Funding Type: 
Grant Number: 
Principle Investigator: 
Funds requested: 
$1 732 164
Funding Recommendations: 
Grant approved: 
Public Abstract: 
Statement of Benefit to California: 
Review Summary: 
This proposal from the home institution seeks to develop an internship program to recruit students of diverse backgrounds to provide them with the educational and technical training in stem cell research. Ten students will be selected each year as interns from the home institution and from two local community colleges. The program is open to both undergraduate and graduate students at the home institution and to undergraduates at the partnering community colleges, all of which have biotechnology programs. The home institution will develop a new curriculum to enhance stem cell training, including lectures and laboratory work on cell culture and stem cell techniques. They will also develop a seminar series open to interns, science majors, the general student population and the community. Students will be matched with internship opportunities available at multiple local academic, research and commercial institutions through an application and interview process. Prior to starting the internship, students will attend a stem cell techniques training course offered through one of the host institutions. Students will participate in research during a twelve-month internship. Overall reviewers were enthusiastic about this program. They recognized the diversity of potential research internship experience as a major strength of this proposal. Students will be able to select from variety of academic institutions as well as biotech companies involved in stem cell related research and development. Not only are there diverse internship opportunities, but also these opportunities are for the hands-on training at world – class laboratories. Reviewers appreciated the twelve-month duration of the internship and considered it sufficient to achieve the educational goals. One reviewer considered the curriculum component of the proposal as somewhat weak. She/he noted that at the home institution the new lecture/laboratory course to be developed is one of the major entry points for an internship, but its fit with the overall curriculum was unclear. This reviewer also noted that the entry curriculum for the internship was unique to each of the three institutions selecting interns, potentially resulting in varying levels of preparedness. Reviewers liked the process for selection of interns, which includes an application from potential interns that is reviewed by a selection committee including the Program Director (PD) from the home institution as well as representatives from both partnering community colleges and host institutions, followed by interviews. Reviewers considered adequate the plan to monitor the progress of interns through quarterly interactions with the PD. Reviewers recognized the experience and commitment of the home institution in managing and providing adequate resources to training programs. They highlighted the considerable track record of the home institution in the management of a variety of programs designed to broaden participation of underrepresented groups in science. Reviewers also considered as strengths of the program the partnerships the home institution has established with local community colleges that should further increase the likelihood of involving underrepresented minorities in the internship program and the partnerships with academic and biotech host institutions which should provide a breadth of research opportunities to interns. There found evidence of commitment from these institutions to be adequate. The reviewers considered the Program Director to be well qualified to manage the program because of his/her previous experience in administering research programs for undergraduates and in mentoring racial and ethnic minority students. The advisory board was considered appropriate but would benefit by additional members from the industry partners. Overall, the reviewers were enthusiastic about this program based on the internship recruitment opportunities, the track record of the home institution and the scope and quality of the internship opportunities.

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