Curriculum Development and Implementation of Stem Cell Technology and Laboratory Management Emphasis in an Established MS Biotechnology and Bioinformatics Program at (REDACTED) and Co-development of a GE Course on Stem Cel

Curriculum Development and Implementation of Stem Cell Technology and Laboratory Management Emphasis in an Established MS Biotechnology and Bioinformatics Program at (REDACTED) and Co-development of a GE Course on Stem Cel

Funding Type: 
Bridges
Grant Number: 
TB1-01177
Award Value: 
$3,610,927
Status: 
Active
Public Abstract: 
The mandate of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) is to oversee and support quality research efforts in stem cell technology and to advance the development of medical therapies using this technology. As a result, many important research programs have already been funded in record time and the stem cell research community in California is growing rapidly. A need has ensued for qualified personnel at the Master of Science (MS) level to support key stem cell research activities in California. Our academic institution currently offers an MS in Biotechnology and Bioinformatics and an MS in Biotechnology/MBA Dual Degree program. These programs boast an enrollment of over 100 students and have a demonstrated track record of yielding highly competitive MS-level professionals. Our graduates have successfully entered the mid- and high-level workforce of the academic research community and biotechnology industry, or have pursued doctoral education. We propose to develop a comprehensive training program in Stem Cell Technology and Laboratory Management (SCT&LM) as an emphasis in our ongoing MS program. The emphasis will include 9 MS-level lecture and lab-intensive courses, 4 elective courses, and a 1-year internship. Most courses have been implemented for our existing MS program. To this end, we are seeking the Bridges Award to (1) assist us in developing 4 new courses for the graduate program, and (2) provide support for 30 one-year internships and an intensive Stem Cell Training course at a CIRM-funded training facility at [REDACTED]. Supplemented by 9 existing courses and 15 additional internships funded by our own institution, our MS program will graduate 45 fully educated and well-trained SCT&LM professional 3 years. We will also develop a general education course on stem cell technology with 3 local community colleges to educate over 1,000 students in the next 3 years. We have established agreements with 5 institutions, with 1 agreement pending, that will accept our graduate interns, offering a variety of research projects using different types of stem cells. A recent survey of our current MS students indicates a strong interest in the SCT&LM program. Many of these students will have completed most of the required courses and be ready for the internship by fall 2009. If our proposal succeeds in its requested funding, our first cohort of students will graduate with an MS degree in Stem Cell Technology and Laboratory Management by summer 2010. This program will be self-sufficient after the 3-year funding period and will sustain itself based on the proven track record of our existing professional science master's programs. We are confident that the SCT&LM program would be a key contribution to the stem cell efforts supported by the people of California in fulfilling the unmet need for highly qualified technical and managerial personnel in stem cell research technology.
Statement of Benefit to California: 
The effective implementation of numerous research programs in stem cell technology funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, created after the approval of Proposition 71 by California citizens, has led to a rapid growth of research communities in California. Consequently, an urgent and long-term need for qualified technical personnel to support these research activities has become apparent. Stem cell technology is a relatively new field. The management of stem cells in the laboratory is difficult and arduous. It requires an experienced and knowledgeable technical workforce. Few individuals in California are currently trained to provide research teams with high-quality and routine management of stem cell culture facilities. California does not have any program for advanced training in stem cell technology and stem cell lab management. Our proposal for the CIRM Bridges Award addresses the demand for well-trained professionals capable of managing stem cell culture facilities. We propose to extend our current MS Biotechnology and Bioinformatics program to include comprehensive training in Stem Cell Technology and Laboratory Management. Several new courses will be proposed and incorporated into the new program along with existing courses in the MS program. To arrange the one-year internship program, we have established agreements with 5 institutions and are in the process of reaching agreement with 1 additional institution that will accept our graduate interns, offering them a variety of research projects using different types of stem cells, experimental approaches and human disease models. A recent survey of our current 125 MS students indicates a strong interest in the Stem Cell Technology and Laboratory Management program. Many of these students will have completed most of the required courses and be ready for the internship by fall 2009. If our proposal succeeds in its requested funding, our first cohort of students will graduate with an MS degree in Stem Cell Technology and Laboratory Management by summer 2010. This program will become self-sufficient after the 3-year funding period and will sustain itself based on the proven track record of our existing professional science master's programs. Graduates from our program will be able to integrate readily into the scientific workforce in stem cell research in the State of California. During the 3 years of requested funding, our program will graduate 45 professionals with a Master of Science degree in Stem Cell Technology and Laboratory Management and support 15 internships above and beyond the 30 funded by the CIRM Award. We are confident that our training program at the MS level will be a key contribution to the stem cell efforts supported by the people of California in fulfilling the unmet need for highly qualified technical and managerial personnel in stem cell research technology.
Progress Report: 

Year 1

California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) is the only public university in Ventura County, a region that is rapidly developing into a biotechnology hub. Currently, no research university serves this area. Since its inception in 2001, CSUCI has established one of the most successful professional science master’s (PSM) degree programs in biotechnology and an innovative MS Biotechnology and MBA dual degree program within the CSU system with a robust enrollment of 100 plus students. The Stem Cell Technology and Lab Management (SCTLM) emphasis within the MS degree program was implemented in 2009 after CSUCI received a 3-year Bridges award from CIRM. The purpose of this emphasis was to provide intensive training to students in the field of stem cell technology via engagement in cutting-edge stem cell courses and a mandatory 1-year internship at a CIRM approved facility. Currently we are completing our 4th year in this emphasis and have successfully graduated a total of 44 students since 2009, 30 of whom received funding from CIRM for their internships. Our fourth cohort of students (2012-2013) will complete the internships in September, 2013 and we are in the process of placing our fifth cohort of students (2013-2014) at a variety of institutes to commence the internships in September, 2013. Our training program requires students enrolled in the SCTLM emphasis to complete a set of four common core courses as well as six required courses focusing on molecular cell biology, bioinformatics, genomics and proteomics, stem cell culture techniques, cell culture facility management, regenerative medicine, project management, biotech law & regulation and an internship. These courses are being offered in various formats-in-classroom, online, seminar, full lecture/lab, an intensive 1-week training and 1-year internship and thus enable students to experience the full benefits of a diverse educational regimen. In addition, students are also required to complete 1-2 elective courses from a pool of 10 electives offered. The most valuable experience for the students is the 1-year internship whereby they acquire skills in stem cell techniques, work on an original independent research project, form collaborations with other scientists in the field, network with peers and project themselves as skilled researchers in stem cell technology. CSUCI has established agreements with a plethora of host institutions that conduct world-class research such as the Scripps Research Institute, the Beckman Center, UCSB, USC, UCR, UCSD, UCSC, Cedars-Sinai Center, the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Celavie Biosciences, Sanford Burnham Institute, Stanford and Western university. The CIRM Bridges award has provided us the opportunity to avail of these institutions as training sites which has proven to be an excellent platform for the students to fulfill the unmet need for highly qualified technical personnel in stem cell research technology. Interns have frequently been offered employment by these host institutions after finishing their internships and this reflects the confidence that researchers are placing in our interns. Our CIRM Bridges training grant program received a renewal until 2015. As a result, our fourth cohort (2012-2013) of students was admitted into the SCTLM emphasis in June 2012 and commenced the 1-year internship in early October, 2012. The internship will end in September, 2013 following which the interns will file their research thesis and present their work at our MS Biotechnology Colloquium in fall, 2013; these interns will also present their work at the CIRM Bridges meeting in July, 2013. Before being placed at their internship sites, interns were required to complete a 7-day intensive Stem Cell Training course offered at USC in August, 2012. Additionally, interns also completed more than 400 hours of coursework and learned about the research of stem cell experts through a seminar course that typically invites 10-12 researchers from CIRM funded institutions. Overall, the curriculum within this emphasis thus offers students a variety of options to expand their knowledge and lab skills in stem cell sciences. The training program has directly made a key contribution to the stem cell efforts supported by the people of California as evidenced by our interns’ interest in pursuing future research in the stem cell areas either via seeking employment in the R & D sectors of stem cell based biotech companies or via applying to a PhD program. Our interns have spoken at community events held on our campus and increased the transparency of the SCTLM emphasis and CIRM funded research. This was clearly evidenced by the fact that several undergraduate students have started expressing a deep interest in the stem cell fields and are intent on exploring similar internship opportunities. This training program made possible by the CIRM Bridges award has gained tremendous popularity at CSUCI and continues to garner wide interest.

Year 2

Public Summary California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) is the only public university in Ventura County, a region that is rapidly developing into a biotechnology hub. Currently, no research university serves this area. Since its inception in 2001, CSUCI has established one of the most successful professional science master’s degree programs in biotechnology and an innovative MS Biotechnology and MBA dual degree program within the CSU system with a robust enrollment of 100 plus students. The Stem Cell Technology and Lab Management (SCTLM) emphasis within the MS degree program was implemented in 2009 after receiving a 3-year Bridges award from CIRM. The purpose of this emphasis was to provide intensive training to students in the field of stem cell technology via engagement in cutting-edge stem cell courses and a mandatory 1-year internship at a CIRM approved facility. Currently we are completing our 5th year in this emphasis and have successfully graduated a total of 40 CIRM grant funded students since 2009. Our fifth cohort of students (2013-2014) will complete the internships in September, 2014 and we are in the process of placing our sixth cohort of students (2014-2015) at a variety of institutes to commence the internships in September, 2014. Our training program requires students enrolled in the SCTLM emphasis to complete a set of four common core courses as well as six required courses focusing on molecular cell biology, bioinformatics, genomics and proteomics, stem cell culture techniques, cell culture facility management, regenerative medicine, project management, biotech law & regulation and an internship. These courses are being offered in various formats-in-classroom, online, seminar, full lecture/lab, an intensive 1-week training and 1-year internship and thus enable students to experience the full benefits of a diverse educational regimen. In addition, students are also required to complete 1-2 elective courses from a pool of 10 electives offered. The most valuable experience for the students is the 1-year internship whereby they acquire skills in stem cell techniques, work on an original independent research project, form collaborations with other scientists in the field, network with peers and project themselves as skilled researchers in stem cell technology. CSUCI has established agreements with a plethora of host institutions that conduct world-class research such as the Scripps Research Institute, the Beckman Center, UC Davis, UCSB, USC, UCR, UCSD, UCSC, Cedars-Sinai Center, the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Celavie Biosciences, Sanford Burnham Institute, Stanford and Western university. The CIRM Bridges award has provided us the opportunity to avail of these institutions as training sites which has proven to be an excellent platform for the students to fulfill the unmet need for highly qualified technical personnel in stem cell research technology. Interns have frequently been offered employment by these host institutions after finishing their internships and this reflects the confidence that researchers are placing in our interns. Our CIRM Bridges training grant program received a renewal until 2015. Our fifth cohort (2013-2014) of students was admitted into the SCTLM emphasis in June 2013 and commenced the 1-year internship in early October, 2013. The internship will end in September, 2014 following which the interns will file their research thesis and present their work at our MS Biotechnology Colloquium in fall, 2014; these interns will also present their work at the CIRM Bridges meeting in July, 2014. Before being placed at their internship sites, interns were required to complete a 7-day intensive Stem Cell Training course offered at USC in August, 2013. Additionally, interns also completed more than 400 hours of coursework and learned about the research of stem cell experts through a seminar course that typically invites 10-12 researchers from CIRM funded institutions. Overall, the curriculum within this emphasis thus offers students a variety of options to expand their knowledge and lab skills in stem cell sciences. The training program has directly made a key contribution to the stem cell efforts supported by the people of California as evidenced by our interns’ interest in pursuing future research in the stem cell areas either via seeking employment in the R & D sectors (70% of the interns since 2009 are currently employed) or via applying to a PhD program. Our interns have spoken at community events held on our campus and increased the transparency of the SCTLM emphasis and CIRM funded research. In addition to several undergraduate students expressing a deep interest in the stem cell fields, an enormous interest has also been shown by our international students, who intend to commit themselves to the California workforce. This training program made possible by the CIRM Bridges award has gained tremendous popularity at CSUCI and continues to garner wide interest.

© 2013 California Institute for Regenerative Medicine