Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Bridge to a new career; building the next generation of researchers

One of the many things we are proud of at the stem cell agency is our Bridges to Stem Cell Research program. It's focused on helping aspiring scientists - students at the undergraduate and masters level - who are considering a career in research, giving them hands on experience in research labs. The ultimate goal is to help train the next generation of stem cell scientists and laboratory technicians. Meeting these young scientists is always inspiring. They have such infectious enthusiasm that you can't help but be excited about the work they are doing.

Here are two emails we received from recent Bridges graduates at California State University, San Bernardino who took the time to say thanks.

Joshua Billings working in the lab
Here is what Joshua Billings wrote to us:  

Being a recipient for the CIRM Bridges to Stem Cell Research grant was an invaluably important feature of my education while attending college. The fellowship gave me a chance to train in and center my education around research aspects that interested me. After starting the grant term I was able to fully immerse myself in a research lifestyle that I otherwise would not have had access to.

My principal investigator, Dr. Lien, guided my project but gave me autonomy in my research which allowed me to really grasp the biological concepts and pathways while formulating my hypothesis. I was able to collaborate with my colleagues and also learn different protocols that allowed me to forward my analysis of the regenerative capacity of the zebrafish and neonatal mouse hearts. This gave me a chance to try my hand at survival surgeries and work with different organisms until I felt confident enough in my abilities that I was able to integrate them into my own experiments. I would have never had access to the equipment or research models had I not worked at the Saban Research Institute at CHLA.

The grant also allowed me to present my research in conference before my peers as well as my superiors. This gave me confidence in my presentation skills as well as in writing research papers and drafting presentations and posters.

The experience was also a pivotal point of interest in my medical school interviews and a central reason I believe I am matriculating to the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in the Fall. I am extremely thankful for the grant because it gave a different facet to my education and allowed me a much more hands on learning experience while also guiding my way into a research position after the grant term ended, acceptance into medical school, and also a better understanding of my personal career goals.

Lindsay Lenaeus (right) when Stephen Hawking (center background) toured the lab
Here's what Lindsay Lenaeus had to say:

The CIRM grant has been incredibly beneficial to my life. I received the scholarship and was trained on how to work with human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells. After my training, I fulfilled my internship at the City of Hope in Duarte, Ca. While at the City of Hope, I had hands on experience with a variety of laboratory techniques and procedures. At City of Hope, I was fortunate enough to work directly with human induced pluripotent stem cells and that opportunity opened up so many doors for me.

Following my internship and college graduation, I was offered a Research Associate I position at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills, Ca. I now work every day with human induced pluripotent stem cells and am incredibly blessed to work under Clive Svendsen, Ph.D. and with so many other talented scientists in such an emerging field.

I know for a fact, that without the CIRM grant, I would have never been able to achieve this level of experience this early in my career and for that I am so truly grateful for everything the CIRM Bridges to Stem Cell Research Program has awarded me.

1 comment:

  1. I've been hearing a lot of good things about Stem Cell and I am curious to know more about it.