Public Affairs

Growing California's Stem Cell Research Workforce

January 12, 2012
By Stephanie Thara

Growing California's Stem Cell Research WorkforceIn support of California’s mission to excel as a pioneer in the rapidly expanding field of stem cell biology, CSU is instituting programs to train the next generation of stem cell scientists. Funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the Bridges to Stem Cell Research Training Program allows students to implement research in novel therapeutic approaches to human disease through practical laboratory training experience.

The CSU Bridges program strives to provide scientists and technical staff for the state’s biotechnology, pharmaceutical and stem cell companies. The program combines hands-on training in stem cell research laboratories with integrated educational seminars. Additionally, students create lasting relationships with mentors who are world leaders in stem cell research.

Depending on the CSU campus, the program provides internships to undergraduate and graduate students looking to enter research careers in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. Each year, up to 30 students from each participating CSU work with faculty, researchers and staff technicians in stem cell research and learn essential analysis techniques, such as microscopy, cell sorting and good laboratory practices. The students participate in internships at public and private research universities, as well as for commercial companies.

CSU Bridges program interns from the 13 participating CSU campuses—Channel Islands, Fullerton, Humboldt, Long Beach, Northridge, Pomona, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San José, San Luis Obispo and San Marcos—have the opportunity to gain experience in researching potential solutions to life-threatening diseases using stem cells. Past internships have produced research in cell generation to produce insulin that can treat people with diabetes, gene targeting to make cells immune to HIV, and the creation of heart muscle cells that could repair damage after a heart attack.