T32 Training Program In Stem Cell Translational Medicine For Neurological Disorders

About Funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokethe goal of the Training Program in Stem Cell Translational Medicine for Neurological Disorders is to train a new generation of scientists in the translational application of stem cell biology to neuroscience. This training program is specifically focused on three integrated areas: stem cells, neuroscience and translation to the clinic. To train the next generation of stem cell translational scientists, we  provide a clinical experience to understand research in the context of clinical translation, industry Internships to learn commercial and practical aspects of moving discoveries to clinical trials, coursework focused on providing the specialized scientific background required, Workshops to focus on specific technologies, and a Stem Cell Translational Medicine in Neuroscience Retreat to provide an annual education in the latest cutting-edge science and training in skills including communication, conflict resolution, and professional and personal skills developmentTrainees also benefit from access to resources from the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center.  NIH Award Number

Grant Period
July 1, 2013 – Present  Participating Schools
School of Biological Sciences
Samueli School of Engineering
School of Medicine
School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences  Principal Investigators Leslie M. Thompson, PhD 
Bren Professor, Psychiatry and Human Behavior, School of Medicine
Bren Professor, Neurobiology and Behavior, School of Biological Sciences  Peter J. Donovan, PhD
Professor, Developmental and Cell Biology, School of Biological Sciences
Professor, Biological Chemistry, School of Medicine  Training and Skills


  • M243 Stem Cell Topics: Core knowledge on stem cellbased translational approaches to neurologic disease, enhancing reproducibility and research ethics 
  • Seminars: Presentation and discussion of research topics  


  • Workshops: Focus on specific technologies and relevant topics regarding stem cells, ongoing trainings 


  • Clinical Experience: Understanding research in clinical translation context and following specific patients with clinical faculty
  • Industry Internships: Commercial and practical aspects of moving discoveries to clinical trials
  • Stem Cell Translational Medicine in Neuroscience Retreat
  • Regular meetings with the Directors 

Eligibility and Application Process This training program is open to PhD students in their third year, but students may apply starting in their second year. Trainees must be U.S. citizens, noncitizen nationals, or permanent residents. All trainees are required to pursue research training full time. Appointments will be for a two year period and will involve a comprehensive training program.  Mentors and mentees are both required to participate in training programs.  

Criteria for selection include: 

  • A strong academic record, both prior to and at UCI 
  • Committed to thesis research in the area of stem cell research with a translational emphasis in neurological disorders
  • Presentation of a compelling research plan
  • Written commitment by the mentor to participate in training grant activities 

Trainees are required to be affiliated with a laboratory for their thesis work. Therefore, the recommendation of the nominating thesis advisor is also taken into consideration. Faculty nominators are asked to submit a synopsis of funding and past student performance, and that record will be taken into account during the award decision process. 

Previous trainees have gone on to excel in both academic and industry positions.