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An Interdisciplinary Master’s Of Science Specialization In Stem Cell Research

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

BME Course and Curriculum Development

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.165.1 - 15.165.7



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Paper Authors

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Lily Laiho California Polytechnic State University

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Nikki Adams California Polytechnic State University

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Kristen Cardinal Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

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Matthew Burd California Polytechnic State University

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Daniel Walsh California Polytechnic State University

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Trevor Cardinal California Polytechnic State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

An Interdisciplinary Master’s of Science Specialization in Stem Cell Research


With funding from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine Bridges to Stem Cell Research Award1, we have developed a unique interdisciplinary MS degree specialization in Stem Cell Research. This paper describes the structure of this new program. The interdisciplinary nature of our program stems from the involvement of faculty and students from three departments that span three academic units at our university - Biomedical Engineering, Biological Sciences, and Animal Science. The goals of our program are to prepare students for careers in stem cell research by providing them with 1) broad technical skills, 2) critical thinking and problem solving skills, 3) familiarity with current research, 4) familiarity with the ethics and theory of stem cell investigation, and 5) presentation and communication skills.

To accomplish these goals, students from the three departments progress through three components - one year of coursework, a nine-month research internship, and a Master’s project. For their coursework, students complete five common-core courses - Principles of Tissue Engineering, Cell Transplantation and Biotherapeutics, Introduction to Biomedical Imaging, Stem Cell Research Seminar, and Principles of Stem Cell Biology. Through the laboratory coursework, students gain experience with cell culture, scaffold development, cell sodding, histochemical staining, animal surgery, therapeutic delivery, animal experimentation, fluorescent and laser microscopy, and cell staining. In addition to the core courses, students also complete classes specific to their discipline, i.e. Biomedical Engineering, Biological Sciences, or Animal Science.

After completing their coursework, students complete a nine-month internship in a stem cell research lab at one of our partner institutions. The nine-month internship, which addresses all of our programmatic learning goals, allows students to further develop their laboratory and critical thinking skills in a research-intensive environment with a rigorous and independent project.

Upon completion of their research internships, students return for one final quarter of coursework. During the quarter, students complete a Master’s Project Course that allows them to apply the skills gained during the research internship to existing research efforts at our university. This Master’s Project provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate transfer of knowledge and skills gained during the completion of their degree and therefore represents the culmination of their training MS degree training in stem cell research.


In order to prepare our students for an increasing number of careers in stem cell research2, we established three Master’s of Science degree specializations in Stem Cell Technology at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. The specializations are available to students from three departments at our university- Biomedical Engineering in the College of Engineering, Animal Science in the College of Agriculture, and Biological Sciences in the

Laiho, L., & Adams, N., & Cardinal, K., & Burd, M., & Walsh, D., & Cardinal, T. (2010, June), An Interdisciplinary Master’s Of Science Specialization In Stem Cell Research Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16663

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