LONG BEACH - Developing healing therapies derived from stem cells-body cells that can grow into a variety of other tissues-is an increasing emphasis in modern healthcare research and businesses.As a result, labs and companies need scientists who understand the field. So in 2009, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state's stem cell research agency, awarded $1.35 million to Cal State Long Beach as one of 11 additional educational institutions to prepare student interns for careers in stem cell research and biomedicine. The caliber of the interns, selected from students in the stem cell option of CSULB's Biotechnology Certificate program, pleased CIRM officials enough to result in a three-year, $1,686,998 grant renewal for the university. The new funding will support three additional cohorts of up to 10 students each year beginning this summer through spring 2015. "The purpose is to train professionals to work on research to find medical cures through stem cells, which also will help the California economy," said Lisa Klig, professor of biological sciences who directs the biotechnology certificate program. "Students (who have completed the program) have had a 100 percent success rate being placed in jobs or in graduate school or medical school." Thus far, 20 interns have completed the program, and another 10 are working in labs this academic year. Interns receive $25,750 to cover tuition, fees and a living expenses stipend. With the latest grant, the newest group of CSULB interns will be selected this spring, adding a second year to their one-year biotechnology certificate program. They begin with a summertime specialized stem cell course at Children's Hospital of Orange County, followed by the 10-month, full-time internship either at UC Irvine's Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center or at City of Hope in Duarte. CIRM is funded by Proposition 71, passed by voters in 2004 to support stem cell research. For more information, visit csulb.edu/depts/biology.
********** Published: January 26, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 41