Regenerative Medicine Education & Outreach
Post-Secondary Education Grant Recipient: Randy S. Daughters, PhD
Grant Period: 2015-2016
Site: University of Minnesota
The global stem cells market could enjoy an annual growth rate of nearly 25 percent between 2012 and 2018, reaching $119.52 billion by 2019, up from $26.23 billion in 2013. Despite the exponential growth of the stem cell therapy market, there is an alarming shortage of scientists working in the regenerative medicine field. The rapid expansion of the industry will require many highly educated workers with graduate degrees.
The Regenerative Medicine Minnesota Grant creates a pipeline where undergraduate students can learn about regenerative medicine and pursue stem cell research as career options. This program specifically targets minority students who are typically underrepresented in the regenerative medicine field and outreach efforts.
The program features two basic components: a 10-week summer research component and continued education into the academic year. Unlike other 10-week summer programs, where students return to their home institutions and potentially stop engaging in regenerative medicine, this grant provides year-long support for the student interns to stay on track for a career in regenerative medicine.
Interns engage in other activities that supplement their educational experiences in the program. For example, they participate in the Regional Regeneration Symposium so they have the opportunity to present their work in a public forum. Students also partner with area high schools to help younger students explore regenerative medicine.
To read an account of two students' educational and lab experiences through this program, click here.
Substantial consumer demand for stem cell banking is causing a surge in research and development undertakings from both the private and public sector. Led by government support, higher disposable incomes, and the prohibition of animal tissues for testing, industry growth will likely continue in the coming years. Therefore, this program benefits the state of Minnesota by helping develop a biomedical workforce and creating an outreach effort for education on regenerative medicine and stem cell biology. From a financial and public health perspective, programs like this are necessary to keep Minnesota at the forfront of regenerative medicine research.
Dr. Randy Daughters is a cell and molecular biologist who focuses on stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. As program director of the Minnesota Regenerative Medicine Internship Program, Dr. Daughters provides student research opportunities in regenerative medicine.
Daughters earned his PhD in 2007 from the University of Minnesota, where he currently leads courses in regenerative medicine, cell biology, neurobiology, molecular biology, and biotechnology. In his research, Dr. Daughters uses genetic, molecular and cellular approaches to using stem cells to repair or regenerate tissue. His research sheds light on how progenitor cells acquire one fate rather than another and explores the activation and maintenance of these cells and the contributions progenitor cells make towards the development of tissues and organs.