UCSF's Morton Cowan, professor of pediatrics, will welcome colleagues from City College of San Francisco into his laboratory as part of a new stem cell research training program announced on April 13.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom joined representatives from City College of San Francisco (CCSF) and UCSF to announce the $780,000 grant from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Office to launch a stem cell certificate training program. The program will train at least 85 students, providing them the scientific background and laboratory experience necessary to find jobs in this emerging field.
Priority placement in the stem cell certificate program will be given to students enrolled in City College's biotech programs, which serve low-income students who have traditionally been underrepresented in science fields. These disadvantaged students will be further assisted in finding and maintaining employment by SFWorks
and the Private Industry Council of San Francisco
The public/private partnership will bring City College faculty to UCSF, the Gladstone Institutes, Stanford University and other institutions doing stem cell research throughout the Bay Area to ensure that instructors learn the latest techniques so that they can provide their own students the highest quality of instruction possible. Students who earn a stem cell certificate - the first of its kind offered at CCSF - will be able to apply for internships and employment, bolstering San Francisco's workforce in the field.
"Stem cell research is at its infancy and the discoveries of tomorrow will obviously come from the current and future students that we are training at places such as City College," said Cowan, chief of the Bone Marrow Transplant Division at UCSF Children's Hospital. "I am very impressed by the initiative that the folks at City College have taken to establish this training program. For the student to really appreciate the potential of stem cells, both embryonic and adult, their teachers must also have an in-depth understanding. What better way than to have instructors work with us in a laboratory doing stem cell research."
Renee Navarro, associate dean of the UCSF School of Medicine, concurs. "This is a very exciting time in medicine," Navarro said. "We have more work to do before stem cell research can make a difference in many peoples' lives, but the opportunity we have is enormous. None of the opportunity of stem cell science can turn into reality without basic research, like the work we are doing at UCSF. This kind of important research depends not only on adequate funding, it also depends on well-trained, skilled people working with us in our labs."
Mayor Newsom said the program will help San Francisco stay at the forefront of stem cell research. "It's part of a comprehensive strategy to ensure that we maximize the opportunities created by the Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative," he said.
That initiative, approved by state voters last November as Proposition 71, creates the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which will provide nearly $3 billion for stem cell research in California over a 10-year period. Universities and private industry will apply for funding to expand stem cell research, adding new biotechnology jobs and further fueling the state economy.
"Biotechnology is one of the greatest engines of economic opportunity," Navarro said. "We have an obligation to make that opportunity available to everyone in our diverse community. We need programs like this at City College so that people throughout the city have the opportunity to learn the skills needed to obtain jobs in biotechnology research labs, whether in our labs at UCSF or one of the many great biotechnology companies in the Bay Area."
Source: Lisa Cisneros
City College of San Francisco
Office of the Mayor Press Release