Stem Cell Program


Stem cell biology has developed into a rapidly expanding technology offering novel therapeutic approaches to human disease. California has taken the lead in the development and expansion of these technologies. There is critical need to recruit, educate, and train the next generation of scientists that will work on achieving these goals. The focus of our program will be to recruit students from California's large and diverse population, and to provide them with the educational and technical skills that will allow them to pursue careers in stem-cell research.

What is the Bridges to the Stem Cell Research Program?

The Bridges to the Stem Cell Research Program is funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). The Program, based at CSUSM and in partnership with MiraCosta and Miramar Colleges, will place ten (10) students per year in full 12-month internships with host laboratories throughout the region. The Program has established internship commitments with the leaders in stem cell research in academia including the Salk Institute, the Burnham Institute, UCSD, and Scripps Institute. Students will also have the option to intern in premiere biotechnology companies including Cytori, Histogen, International Stem Cell Corporation, and Novocell.

  • Students will be working in internships full-time during their 12-month commitment as a Bridges Researcher.
  • Students will also be enrolled full-time (through a combination of internship credit and coursework) at their home institution during their entire time as a Bridges Researcher.
  • Internship and tuition and fees during enrollment as a Bridges Researcher are financially supported by the Program.
  • We are now recruiting the second cohort of students for this program.

How do you apply?

Each interested student needs to fill out the same application, regardless of enrolling campus. Please see below.

Application Deadline: FEBRUARY 13, 2015 @ 5PM

Frequently asked questions:

1) When will my application be reviewed?

The applications are reviewed by the selection committee at the end of March. The selection committee consists of representatives from each of the three participating campuses: CSUSM, Miramar and MiraCosta Colleges. The selection committee will be informing students of their status early April.

2) How will I be trained to perform stem cell research?

Each selected student will enroll in a stem cell training course.  This course will provide the theoretical and practical fundamentals to initiate the internship experience. During the 12-month internship, the student will be completely immersed in stem cell research.

3) Where will I be placed for the 12-month internship?

Each of the selected students will interview will interested labs (up to 5 labs). There are 51 labs that conduct stem cell research which have expressed interest in hosting students in the program.  These labs are located the University of California-San Diego, the Salk Institute, the Scripps Research Institute, the Burnham Institute, and Thermo Fisher Scientific.

4) What is the stipend and how much of my tuition and fees are covered by this program?

Students will be expected to work full-time as interns in their laboratories. They will also be enrolled at their home campus as full-time students. For example, at CSUSM, this may consist of research units, internship units and course units. Students will receive $2,500 per month as a stipend plus up to $7,000 to cover Tuition and Fees at their home campus.

5) How do I submit my application and recommendation letters? Submit the application to CSUSM (Rita Cooper, Bridges Administrative Coordinator at CSUSM, For the recommendation letters, ask your references to email Rita Cooper directly with a scanned version of the signed letter. Please ask reviewers to put the applicant's name in the subject line. Another format to submit the recommendation letters includes a sealed envelope with the reviewer's signature across the back seal containing the letter. For more information, contact the representative from your home institution.

6) A workshop about the program and how to complete the application will be held on DECEMBER 4, 2014 at 12:00PM in Markstein Hall 303.

If your question was not answered above, please contact the Program Coordinator, Courtney Dow, at