New N-COMPASS program sets CSUN Biology students on course for careers in regenerative medicine

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has awarded almost $3 million to CSUN Biology faculty Dr. Cindy Malone, with Drs. Gilberto Flores and Gabriela Chavira, in support of undergraduate student academic and research support, a program the PIs have dubbed N-COMPASS. “Encompass,” means “to surround and have or hold within“ — and N-COMPASS will surround trainees with support and community via an array of initiatives in the department and links to resources beyond campus.

Students in the program will build foundational knowledge in stem cell, regenerative medicine, and related science through coursework at CSUN leading to a Baccalaureate degree in Cell and Molecular Biology, with faculty and peer-mentored guidance through the educational experience. They’ll also complete two hands-on summer research internships in cutting-edge regenerative medicine laboratories in both biotech companies and academic laboratories, and present data at symposia including the UCLA International Stem Cell, our CSUNposium, the West Coast Biological Science Undergraduate Research Conference (WCBSURC), and CSUN Sigma Xi. Finally, they’ll build a fully rounded portfolio of professional preparation by contributing to stem cell outreach activities at schools and in the community; and completing modules in patient healthcare advocacy, regulatory procedures, and good research practices. The program will cap this preparation by facilitating students’ progress to successful and rewarding careers in regenerative medicine through weekly intern academic and personal support (peer and faculty), advisement, and career development activities.

This program has funding support for three cohorts of 10 students over five years, and will provide tuition, year-round stipends, travel funds, tutoring/workshops, summer research internships, career counseling and, eventually, job placement. If N-COMPASS proves successful, the hope is that CIRM will offer renewal/continuation opportunities to support more!

Featured image: Chaparral Hall (Photo via Jeremy Yoder)