City of Hope is proud to be part of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) SPARK Awards program. The CIRM SPARK Awards support summer internship programs that introduce high school students to stem cell science and developmental biology research. Students will have the opportunity to conduct research in established stem cell labs at City of Hope. During their internship, they will be trained in the latest stem cell techniques, attend lectures, participate in patient engagement activities, and communicate their research experiences through blogs and social media.

The SPARK Awards program is also intended to educate and broaden the participation in stem cell research by young individuals representing the diversity of California’s population, including those hindered by economic constraints. We encourage students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to participate in this program.

In 2018, the CIRM SPARK program at City of Hope included (photos):

  • Lectures focusing on the ethics of alternative applications for stem cells.
  • Recruitment and learning opportunities with the Michael Amini Tranfusion Medicine Center
  • Three field trips for the students around Los Angeles. In 2018, the students visited the Huntington Library, Fulgent and the Natural History Museum.
  • Presenting and hosting the SPARK Annual Meeting at UC Davis.
  • Blogs and Instagram posts by SPARK students about their internship experience and stem cell research.
To learn more about the CIRM SPARK program, please visit the CIRM SPARK webpage.

2018 CIRM SPARK Students
Jared Ahn, a junior at La Canada High School, was mentored by Ren-Jang Lin, Ph.D., in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. 
Emily Franco, a junior at Alta Loma High School, was mentored by Patrick Fueger, Ph.D., in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology. 
Andri Iribe, a junior at Duarte High School, was mentored by Hong Qin, Ph.D., and Larry Kwak, M.D., PhD., in the Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation. 
Dhruv Limaye, a junior at Northwood High School, was mentored by Don Diamond, Ph.D., in the Department of Immuno-Oncology. 
Josue Mendez, a sophomore at Maywood Academy High School, was mentored by Qiong Wang, Ph.D., in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology. 
Kimaya Reddy, a sophomore at Sage Hill School, was mentored by John Zaia, M.D., and Angelo Cardoso, M.D., Ph.D., in the Center for Gene Therapy. 
Angela Sun, a junior at Walnut High School, was mentored by Xiaochun Yu, M.D., Ph.D., in the Department of Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics. 
Jingwen Zhang, a sophomore at Glendora High School, was mentored by Yanhong Shi, Ph.D., in the Department of Developmental and Stem Cell Biology. 

The previous CIRM summer experience was the CIRM Creativity Program.  Over the four years we hosted the program the various experiences included:

  • Lectures focusing on potential disease treatments using stem cells.
  • Art Lectures on higher mathematics and how science can conserve artifacts and important historical structures.
  • Field trips for the students around Los Angeles and Orange County including the: (1) Getty Conservation Institute and Museum, (2) Natural History Museum, (3) Institute For Figuring, (4) Griffith Observatory and (5) Owl Biomedical.
  • Workshops on making crochet coral reefs, public speaking and drug marketing.
  • A trip to the annual CIRM Creativity Awards Poster Day in San Francisco.
  • Music Video Parodies to songs such as “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus, “I Really Like You” by Carly Rae Jepson  and "Let It Go” from the Disney movie Frozen.
  • A flashmob in the City of Hope library.