The Institute for the Biology of Stem Cells at UC Santa Cruz has received a $4.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to launch an innovative postdoctoral training and mentorship program in partnership with California State University at Monterey Bay (CSUMB).
The new program will provide support for postdoctoral researchers studying stem cell biology at UCSC, combined with the opportunity for them to develop critical teaching and mentoring skills while working with undergraduates at CSUMB. The funding comes from the Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA) Program at NIH, which aims to develop a diverse pool of well-trained biomedical scientists who have the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue independent academic teaching and research careers.
“This is much more than traditional postdoctoral training, in which people often end up feeling somewhat isolated in their labs,” said Camilla Forsberg, professor of biomolecular engineering at UCSC and one of the program’s principal investigators. “The postdocs will get to train together as part of a cohort, and they will get teaching training, career development, and more structured mentoring.”
The program will provide four years of support for postdoctoral scholars. Principal investigator Aparna Sreenivasan, an associate professor of genetics and molecular biology at CSUMB, explained that, after their first year, the scholars will spend 25 percent of their time teaching at CSUMB, where they will work closely with a faculty mentor.
“This will give them a huge edge over other postdocs when they are applying for faculty positions, and they