CIRM Training Grant

The CIRM UCSD Stem Cell Research & Training Grant has not been renewed. No call for applications is planned for 2015–2016

The CIRM UC San Diego Stem Cell Research & Training Grant has not been renewed. No call for applications is planned for 2015–2016.

Application Process

The Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Training Program II at UCSD, from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) supports 6 pre-doctoral students, 5 postdoctoral fellows, and 5 clinical fellows. Funds made available by CIRM will increase these numbers by 1-3 fellows. Now entering its 8th year, the CIRM UCSD research & training program has been very successful, and we wish to continue to identify trainees with high potential and engage them in this exciting program.

Length of Fellowship Support and Eligibility

At this time, applications for new clinical, postdoctoral, and predoctoral fellowships are requested. Clinical fellows can serve a maximum of three years on CIRM Training Grant II. Postdoctoral and predoctoral fellows can serve a maximum of two years on CIRM Training Grant II. 

Clinical fellow applicants must have been granted the MD or other professional medical degree and be in residency or immediately post residency at the time of appointment.  

Postdoctoral applicants must have been granted the PhD or other doctoral degree and have been accepted into a mentoring laboratory at the time of appointment.They need not be UCSD postdocs at the time of application.

Predoctoral applicants must be UCSD graduate students in good standing who have been accepted into a mentoring laboratory at the time of appointment.  

PLEASE NOTE: Labs with a current CIRM trainee are not eligible to apply. PIs who have a funded trainee will not be eligible to have another funded trainee until their current trainee has completed his or her appointment. Appointment terms will continue to be up to two years for predocs and postdocs and up to three years for Clinical Fellows.

Each lab is limited to submitting only one application in total, which can be for the pre-doc, post-doc or clinical fellowship categories. The PI should select the strongest applicant from his/her lab. All materials should be sent by email to Sylvia Evans, CIRM UCSD Research and Training Program Director, at syevans@ucsd.edu, cc’d to Jennifer Braswell, Executive Director UCSD Stem Cell Program, at jbraswell@ucsd.edu.

Application Packet

Application packet for support of clinical, postdoctoral, or predoctoral CIRM fellows should be sent by email to Sylvia Evans, CIRM UCSD Research and Training Program Director, at syevans@ucsd.edu with a copy to Jennifer Braswell, Executive Director UCSD Stem Cell Program, at jbraswell@ucsd.edu. Please ensure that each packet consists of all required documentation consolidated into a SINGLE file and named with the last name and first name of the trainee, e.g., Doe, John.pdf  Please include the items appropriate for the type of application, as directed below.

  • A total of three recommendation letters are required: one from the Principle Investigator in whose lab the research will be conducted, and two additional references. It is highly recommended for Postdoctoral applicants that one of these letters be from their PhD thesis supervisor. Recommendation letters can be submitted with the application or directly from the recommenders, but it must be submitted by the application deadline.
  • A CV of the applicant (maximum 2 pages) should be included as part of the application
  • Research Proposal
    1. font type: Arial
    2. font size: 11 point
    3. margins: 1 inch
    4. line spacing: single
    5. page limit: The overall page limit for the research proposal is 3 pages, comprised of 2 sections.
      • A. Research Statement (2 page maximum, including any figures)
      • B. Literature Cited (1 page maximum) 

A. Research Statement

The name of the applicant and the Principle Investigator in whose lab the work will be conducted should be written in the upper right hand of the first page as a header.

An overall title of the proposal should be given, followed by two sections:

i. Background & Significance (2 page maximum)

ii. Specific Aims (1 page maximum). At the end of this section, and included in the one page limit for this section, the applicant should include a brief statement of their future career plans in stem cell research. 

Contact Program Director Sylvia Evans at (858) 822-2452 (syevans@ucsd.edu) or Jennifer Braswell (jbraswell@ucsd.edu) if you have any questions. You may address your administrative questions to Marci Murray at (858) 534-8510 (mjmurray@ucsd.edu).

Specific Application requirements for clinical fellows, postdoctoral fellows, or predoctoral applicants.

Only one applicant per faculty member is allowed, either a predoctoral, postdoctoral, or clinical fellow.

An application packet for a CLINICAL FELLOW should be submitted by April 26, 2014, and should include

  • The letters of recommendation from the mentor, and two others
  • CV of the applicant
  • The research proposal 

Notes for Clinical Fellows:

The mentor's recommendation should be a short letter from the PI that names the clinical fellow and gives a short summary of his/her research project or scientific direction. The letter should also confirm that the PI has discussed the requirements of the program with the clinical applicant and that BOTH the clinical applicant and the PI are committed to participating fully in program activities. The PI should recognize that if a CIRM fellow wishes to practice medicine during the fellowship, the fellow must have an appointment with a UCSD clinical department. The fellow should contact a department or division chair individually to establish this relationship. The CIRM Training Grant II cannot form this relation of the fellow's behalf.

Letters of recommendation must be received by the April 26, 2014 deadline.

The research proposal must explain how the clinical fellow's research project is relevant to the application of stem cell medicine in the clinic. The Clinical Fellow applicant should describe whether a clinical residency is in progress or has been completed, and whether the clinical fellow intends to practice medicine during his or her CIRM fellowship. There is no requirement to practice medicine during a CIRM UCSD fellowship. Clinical practice may be conducted up to 25% of the time.

An application packet for a POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW should be submitted by April 26, 2014 and should include

  • The letters of recommendation from the mentor, and two others
  • CV of the applicant
  • The research proposal

Notes for Postdocs:

The mentor's recommendation should be a short letter from the PI that names the postdoc and gives a short summary of his/her thesis project or scientific direction. The letter should also confirm that the PI has discussed the requirements of the program with the postdoc and that BOTH the postdoc and the PI are committed to participating fully in program activities.

Letters of recommendation must be received by the April 26, 2014 deadline.

An application packet for a PREDOCTORAL STUDENT should be submitted April 26, 2014 and should include

  • The letters of recommendation from the mentor, and two others
  • CV of the applicant
  • The research proposal
  • The student's GRE scores (raw and percentile), undergraduate and graduate GPA and institution

Notes for Pre-Docs:

The mentor's recommendation should be a short letter from the PI that names the student and gives a short summary of his or her thesis project of scientific direction. The letter should also confirm that the PI has discussed the requirements of the program with the student and that BOTH the student and the PI are committed to participating fully in program activities.

The research summary must explain how the student's research is relevant to stem cell biology.

Letters of recommendation must be received by the April 26, 2014 deadline. 

Program Requirements

All Fellows must be prepared to serve a twelve-month appointment from the date they are appointed. Mentors must be sure that any nominated fellow can serve the twelve-month appointment because mentors may be financially responsible for salary expenses for fellows who fail to complete their entire appointment.

All fellows must be legally eligible to work at UCSD in the United States at the time of appointment.

Following their acceptance into the Training Program, fellows will participate in the specific training activities for the length of their fellowship. Ordinarily, this will take the form of participation in required courses in the first year of training with participation in optional and recommended courses, journal club, and colloquia in the remaining years. All aspects of the CIRM Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Training Program at UCSD are subject to the availability of funds from CIRM. Trainees and their mentors are asked to seek outside funding as appropriate in order to use our financial resources to bring training to as many trainees as possible.

  1. Core course in Stem Cell Biology, Medicine, and Ethics: This course will be offered in winter, 2014 and covers human embryonic and other types of stem cells and their uses in basic science, translation, and clinical research and application. Units on different stem cell types, organ systems, chemical approaches, engineering approaches and computational approaches are included. Each unit presents basic, translational, and clinical elements of stem cell biology including what is known about the possible presence of stem cells in different systems, their identification, purification and properties, possible or actual uses of stem cells in animal models of relevant diseases, and possible or actual uses in clinical trials for organ systems and disease states.
  2. The research ethics component is directed by Dr. Mary Devereaux to address ethical, legal, economic, and social issues related to stem cell research and its clinical applications. This component runs in parallel with the stem cell core biology and medicine course so that some of the ethical issues raised in the stem cell core course can be treated directly as "case studies" in the ethics course. Course sessions consist of lectures, case analyses, and small-group sessions. Topics to be covered will include: Ethical and public policy issues in stem cell research; obligations of investigators and institutions; oversight committees and review processes; procurement of embryos and germ cells; derivation, banking, and distribution of human embryonic stem cell lines; research use of human embryonic stem cell lines; managing conflict of interest; collaboration and data sharing; clinical trials; access to therapies; and responsible conduct of research.
  3. Stem cell laboratory methods course: The UCSD Human Embryonic Stem Cell Core Facility offers multiple training modules that introduce trainees to basic and advanced methodologies for research with hESCs. The training modules include culture, differentiation, gene transduction and phenotyping of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). The goal is to provide initial training so that all trainees can launch independent research projects that utilize hESCs.   All new trainees are required to complete the basic methods course unless they have extensive laboratory experience with hESCs.  More experienced trainees are expected to take more advanced or specialized training modules. Training sessions are offered on a regular basis. Contact Karl Willert (kwillert@ucsd.edu) and Eric O'Conner (ericoconnor@ucsd.edu) for further information.
  4. Stem cell journal club: This course in fall, spring, and summer has a different trainee presenting a paper each week, for discussion and critique by the trainees and faculty participants.
  5. Monthly Stem Cell Colloquium: Trainees should attend and present their research when appropriate at the monthly Southern California Stem Cell Consortium organized by the Burnham Institute.
  6. Attendance at annual scientific meeting: Each trainee should attend one appropriate scientific meeting per year, e.g., ISSCR, at which they present the results of their research.
  7. Stem Cell Meeting on the Mesa: The local stem cell scientific community holds an annual collaborative stem cell meeting.  At this meeting, faculty and trainees present results of their research in a forum designed to inform each other and new students, postdocs, and clinical fellows of opportunities in stem cell research training at UCSD and in La Jolla.
  8. Annual CIRM Grantee meeting: All CIRM fellows from California institutions are asked to participate in the CIRM Annual Grantee meeting, or CIRM's annual meeting of trainees. Details from CIRM are forthcoming, and the grant provides travel funds to meet the costs of attendance.
  9. Advisory committee and annual reviews: Clinical Fellows must have a 3-person advisory committee chosen in consultation with the steering committee. Each committee should include, at minimum, a basic stem cell scientist, a clinical or translational scientist applying stem cells to a clinical problem, and a physical scientist or engineer interested in developing physical methods for stem cell manipulation. As appropriate, the trainee should appoint a co-mentor from a basic or clinical science background to ensure full integration of basic science approaches to clinical application. The role of this committee will be to:
    1. Guide the trainee’s selection of a feasible research project, with emphasis on its potential for independent and critical research;
    2. Insure that the trainee is making progress in meeting departmental requirements or advancing towards their research and career goals;
    3. Insure that the trainee develops the ability to communicate ideas through journal clubs, seminars, and group research meetings. Annual reports of Advisory Committee meetings are due May 1 of the calendar year following the appointment date.
  10. Other progress reports and documentation of protocol approvals are required by CIRM throughout the year.

Term of Awards and Length of Appointments

The expected length of the fellowship is two years for post-docs and predocs, and three years for Clinical Fellows, pending successful participation in the program and continued mutual benefit.  Renewal of appointments occurs annually throughout the length of the fellowship.

Clinical Fellows' terms will be from July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015, or a one-year period of time that accommodates other clinical commitments. Clinical fellows' appointment dates can be adjusted based on the needs of the fellow and the fellow's mentor.

Postdoctoral trainee terms usually run from October 1 to September 30. The history of the postdoc and the needs of the mentoring PI can be considered by the steering committee when determining the appointment term.

Predoctoral trainee terms run from October 1 to September 30.  Exceptions are rare.

Each fellow's appointment letter will provide details for the individual scholar appointed, and may be different from these general policies.  All practices of the CIRM UCSD Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Research and Training Program II and its appointees must conform to CIRM's Grants Administration Policy http://www.cirm.ca.gov/our-funding/stem-cell-regulations-governing-cirm-grants#GAP, other guidelines, and current law http://www.cirm.ca.gov/our-funding/stem-cell-regulations-governing-cirm-grants.

Selection Process

Selections will be made by the Steering Committee. Trainees will be selected "blind" to the program or department of origin, that is, trainee selection by the Steering Committee will be competitive and based on several criteria, including:
  • The proposed trainee's previous academic and research performance.
  • The choice of research problem and its relevance to stem cell biology, with a high priority placed on human embryonic stem cells or applications of other types of stem cells to human disease.
  • The potential for interdisciplinary research that would develop or use novel methods or approaches to human stem cell biology.

Renewal Applications

For a renewal application, predoctorals and postdoctorals will need to submit the following sometime around May, 2014:

1.  A letter from your mentor supporting your continuing appointment.

2.  A statement of the progress on the CIRM research and training grant.

Since your annual report is due May 1, 2014, this statement of progress and your annual report can be identical. Your annual report, however, will need to show that you have met with your advisory committee. Their signatures should be on the annual report. Please refer to your appointment letter for details.

3.  Your current CV. Please make sure your current CV reflects your CIRM fellowship and any new publications resulting from your fellowship.

If you do not intend to seek renewal, please promptly e-mail ucsdscp@uscd.edu.