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Graduate Division Receives Grant to Continue Hosting Amgen Scholars Program

By Jeannine Cuevas

Qidi Chen is an undergraduate student research assistant at UCSF and a participant in the Amgen Scholars Program.

The Graduate Division at UCSF has been awarded a grant from the Amgen Foundation that will provide hands-on laboratory experience to undergraduate students through the Amgen Scholars Program. This marks the ninth year that UCSF will participate in the $50 million program which is in its twelfth year. The goal is to inspire the next generation of innovators by providing undergraduates with hands-on summer research opportunities at many of the world¹s premier education institutions.

“We’re excited to have this opportunity to continue our long partnership with the Amgen Foundation,” said Elizabeth Watkins, dean of the UCSF Graduate Division, which organizes the Amgen Scholars Program at UCSF. “Our Amgen summer research program has been immensely successful. Everyone who participates gains valuable insight into the workings of a top-notch lab at UCSF. Inspired by the experience, many participants go on to pursue advanced degrees and careers in biomedical science."

UCSF is one of only 17 educational institutions worldwide selected to host Amgen Scholars. The Amgen Foundation has also announced additional host sites in the US, Europe, and for the first time, Japan. This will provide greater access and opportunity for young scientists to engage in cutting-edge research across a wide range of scientific fields and deepen their understanding of medical biotechnology.

“We are delighted to be expanding the Amgen Scholars Program in the U.S., Europe, and Asia and joining with educational institutions that play a critical role in training tomorrow¹s scientists,” said Robert A. Bradway, chairman and chief executive officer at Amgen. “As a society we are entering an exciting new era in biotechnology that will be shaped by new genetic research tools, more sophisticated medicines, and advanced manufacturing processes. With this new era comes greater demand for talent, expertise, and critical thinking.”

“The Amgen Scholars Program has been a significant catalyst in my scientific career,” said Caitlin Stoddard, of her time in Dr. Charles Craik's lab at UCSF as an Amgen Scholar in 2010.

Stoddard is now a graduate student in the UCSF Tetrad Program. “My time in the lab at UCSF provided me with increased confidence, a broader scientific perspective, and confirmation that I wanted to eventually earn a PhD.  It was truly a transformative summer for me,” she said.

In the new phase of the program, which extends through 2018, an additional $18 million will be invested by the Amgen Foundation supporting nearly 1,200 undergraduate students¹ participation in the US, Europe or Japan. Students in the US and Europe may apply to universities in their respective regions, while students from around the world are eligible to apply to the program in Japan. Summer symposiums will be held in each region, allowing students to come together to share their research projects, learn about biotechnology, and hear firsthand from leading industry and academic scientists.

For more internal-facing stories from the UCSF community, please visit Pulse of UCSF.