The SJSU SCILL program is a two-year program leading to an M.A./M.S. Biological Sciences or an MBT degree. The curriculum is designed to equip students with a broad-based understanding of stem cell biology through classroom instruction and seminars, and develop in-depth, laboratory skills. The program is customized to each student's goals through elective classes and laboratory project.
A significant new aspect of the program will focus on nuances of patients' care through direct patient contact, and community education through outreach activities. This curriculum is supplemented with ‘regulatory affair pathways’ and ‘process of therapy development’ course work, patient care engagement at degenerative disease clinics, and student initiated out-reach activities to educate their communities on stem cell biology through discussions and interactive projects.
All students must fulfill requirements stated in the course of study for their specific MS, MA or MBT programs.
Students take an intensive curriculum of lecture and lab classes at SJSU. This first year experience is built on our commitment to have the most extensive curriculum delivered by experienced faculty in the biology department at SJSU.
Stem Cell Biology Core Classes (15 weeks)
Stem Cell Biology Lecture (1.5 hours/week/15 weeks)First 5 lectures cover definitions of stem cells, embryonic stem cells, pluripotency, adult stem cells, the importance of niche, reprogramming cells to iPS, etc.). Guest-speakers from academia and biotech present the following lectures on current stem cell studies and ethical aspects of embryonic stem cell use. Student comprehension is evaluated by mid and final exams.
Stem Cell Journal Club (1.5 hours/week/15 weeks)Each student presents a manuscript from a high impact factor stem cell journal and conducts a class discussion. Students are evaluated for their knowledge and presentation skills.
Stem Cell Laboratory Techniques (12 hours/week/15 weeks)Students learn basic cell culture techniques by propagating and inactivating mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF), handling of (mESC), generating iPS and characterization of pluripotency with ALKP immunostaining, QPCR and flow cytometry. Students learn to prepare embryoid bodies and differentiate them into cardiomyocytes and neurons. Next, students design and conduct a research project for about 3.5 months, differentiating pluripotent stem cells into a terminal cell type of their choice. Students write a short ‘application’ on their proposed research topic, investigate protocols, select the materials needed, perform the experiments under the supervision of three instructors, and report their project outcomes in a poster presentation.
Principles of Developmental Biology (3 hours/week/15 weeks)
This is an upper division undergraduate lecture course based on current literature in developmental biology, designed to provide an understanding of molecular mechanisms of gametogenesis, fertilization, cleavage, gastrulation and organogenesis.
Advanced Molecular Biology Techniques (8 hours/week/15weeks)
This course is a graduate molecular biology lecture/laboratory course that develops comprehension and competency in preparation for independent research. Students isolate DNA, clone a gene of interest, transfect mammalian cells and analyze expression by RTPCR and western blot.
Flow cytometry class (8 hours/week/6 weeks)
This techniques-based class is taught by a BD Biosciences, Inc. instructor. Students design multi-color flow cytometry experiments, to characterize immune cells, stem cells, and analyze signaling pathways. They acquire skills on Canto and LSRII, and sort with Aria flow cytometers. Data is analyzed with FlowJo in a 24-station computer lab at SJSU.
Graduate writing seminar
This class emphasizes written and oral presentation of scientific information, research proposal preparation and professional development.
Patient Engagement and Outreach Classes (15 weeks)
From Bench to BedsideThis new seminar will address topics such as good laboratory practices (GLP), good manufacturing practices (GMP), regulatory affairs and therapy development.
Patient EngagementPatient care engagement will be initiated in this course.
Community OutreachEach spring semester, students in the SJSU SCILL Program will plan an outreach project about stem cells and deliver their outreach project to the targeted community over the next year (see “Community outreach and Education activity “ section).
Human Embryonic Stem Cell Training Course
Students will attend a one-week lab/workshop at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University prior to starting their internship (see “Stem Cell Techniques Course” section).
SJSU SCILL Internship
SJSU SCILL students will devote the entire second year to a full time internship at one of our partner host institutions. These “hands on” research activities will be unique to each intern as developed in line with the assigned internship host institution mentor, focusing on human stem cells and progenitors basic, or translational research (see “Internship host Institutions” section). A highly individualized internship will be developed in collaboration with the internship site coordinators and research mentors.
Career Development Activities
During this year SJSU SCILL students will develop an individual professional development plan (PDP) in consultation with the SJSU mentorship team (see “Mentoring, Advising and trainee assessment” and “Internship mentors” and “Trainee Selection and Internship Placement” sections), participate in career fairs, and network with SCILL alumni and other profession groups to facilitate their immediate employment upon completion of the program. Interns will be encouraged to join the SJSU SCILL LinkedIn group for career tracking purposes.
Upon completing 30 units of courses as required for the SJSU master’s degree, submission of a portfolio composed of a professional development plan to the SJSU SCILL mentorship team, and presentation of a poster describing their internship research, a culminating experience report will be submitted by SJSU mentors to the SJSU Office of Graduate Studies and Research. After approval by the office of Graduate Studies and Research the appropriate graduate degree (M.A., M.S. or MBT) will be conferred.