As summer draws to an end, high school and college students are preparing for the school year to begin once again. However, not all students took this summer off – many likely took on traditional summer jobs, while some students in California spent their time learning about stem cell biology and working in prominent stem cell research labs across the state. Through partnerships between the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and multiple leading research institutes in California, high school and college students were given the opportunity to participate in real stem cell research in a lab setting.

The two CIRM student programs, known as SPARK and BRIDGES, provide educational and research opportunities for high school and college-level students, respectively. Students in these programs gain a wide understanding of what it’s like to work with these unique cells – from isolating and culturing stem cells to differentiating and analyzing them using modern research techniques such as sequencing and microscopy.

However, before CIRM-funded students can jump into their host laboratories, they first need to be trained in basic research and stem cell techniques. This is where the non-profit institute Pathways to Stem Cell Science comes to into play. Based near the City of Hope and Caltech, and featuring both classroom and laboratory-based courses, Pathways to Stem Cell Science equips students with unique skills to help them flourish both in the lab and in their future scientific careers. Beyond their partnership with CIRM, Pathways to Stem Cell Science also offers their own individual research training programs for high school students, including a 5-day introductory course known as Stem Cell Academy.

In an effort to support these various stem cell research training programs, Biological Industries USA (BI-USA) has partnered with Pathways to Stem Cell Science to provide scholarships to aspiring high school scientists to enable them to participate in these unique research opportunities. Additionally, for college students in the BRIDGES programs, BI-USA was a proud sponsor of their year-end conference, where students presented their exciting research results. All of us at BI-USA are thrilled and thankful to be able to help provide such amazing opportunities to these future stem cell stars!

Photo caption:  High school students participating in this summer’s 5-day Stem Cell Academy course at Pathways to Stem Cell Science. Students were supported in-part by scholarships provided by Biological Industries USA.