SF State News {University Communications}

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$1.7 million grant will prepare stem cell researchers

March 19, 2009 -- SF State will become a training ground for future stem cell researchers, with support from a $1.7 million grant from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). The University's new stem cell biology training program will help prepare a skilled workforce that will keep California on the leading edge of stem cell research. It will also train students from diverse backgrounds, helping to ensure that the future stem cell workforce reflects the diversity of the state's population.

Photograph of Professor Carmen Domingo looking into a microscope in her lab.Professor Carmen Domingo working at a microscope.

Beginning this fall, the program will provide 10 master's students with intensive research training at SF State and 12-month or 18-month internships at partner institutions including University of California, Berkeley, University of California, San Francisco and the Buck Institute for Age Research.

"The goal is to train a proficient workforce to work with these really challenging cells," said Carmen Domingo, program director and professor of biology. "This grant means a lot for our students. It creates a formal bridge between SF State and the partner institutions, providing students with access to hundreds of researchers in this exciting field."

Participants will graduate with either a master's of science in biology with a concentration in cell and molecular biology or a Professional Science Master's degree (PSM), the first of its kind offered at SF State. Those on the PSM track can choose concentrations in biotechnology or stem cell science. The PSM course also includes training in business, project management and communications in addition to scientific research.

SF State is ideally placed to reach students that might not otherwise enter a career in stem cell research. Sixty percent of current students in the biology master's program are from underrepresented minority backgrounds or are first-generation college students.

The grant will also fund the creation of the campus' first General Education course on stem cell biology as well as a series of outreach events to increase public awareness about stem cell research.

-- Elaine Bible


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