Building Bridges to a Brighter Future – Celebrating 11 Years of Workforce Development

By: Dr. Kelly Shepard, Associate Director, Discovery and Translation, CIRM

CIRM 2020 Bridges Conference via Zoom

Every July, CIRM is thrilled to announce the arrival a new generation of stem cell scientists who are ready to hit the ground running as laboratory technicians, educators, communicators, or future leaders of their chosen profession. These diverse and remarkable individuals are the latest graduates of the CIRM Bridges Program, which provides students the opportunity to take coursework at California state schools and community colleges and conduct stem cell research at top universities and industry labs. The culmination of this experience is an annual conference where students are able to network with their peers and share their research outcomes with one another.

While the Bridges program has been operating in full force for 11 years now, 2020 brought some new challenges to everyone in the form of a global pandemic. Shelter in place orders- cancellation of in person classes- travel restrictions…. these are only a few of the factors that have touched our lives in recent months. But sometimes challenges bring opportunities and a new way of doing things. Through the collective efforts of program directors, institutional officials, mentors and students, the 2020 Bridges alumni were able to complete their training requirements at their institutions and present their research at the Annual Bridges Conference, which was conducted virtually this year. While visiting students posters via Zoom, we at CIRM were thrilled to learn that many of them already had jobs waiting for them or had been accepted into PhD or MD programs, similar to alumni from previous years, which now number over 1400.

While we cannot predict all of the twists and turns that life may bring us, we can be confident that scientific research and discovery will remain essential to creating a brighter future, and that Bridges alumni will be there to help us navigate it.

3 thoughts on “Building Bridges to a Brighter Future – Celebrating 11 Years of Workforce Development

  1. please find a cure for vestibular migraine. So many people are suffering including myself. I volunteer for any kind of testing.

  2. Hi I have been reading your emails for years and all I get are information on trials, new students, people retiring but I never get information on where I can get stem cells, it’s very distressing , if there is a clinic doing stem cells for macular degeneration , I would appreciate the information Regards Dyllis

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Dear Dyllis, thanks for your email and I can understand your frustration that we don’t have news of readily available treatments for macular degeneration. There is a lot of research underway and some of it is in the clinical trial stage where it is being tested in people. But nothing has yet been approved by the FDA for use in the wider population. Sorry I don’t have better news.

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