The CIRM SPARK Program

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.

2017 CIRM SPARK program participants

In 2017 the CIRM SPARK Program at the 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 2017, the students visited the Natural History Museum, Mount Baldy, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
  • Presenting and hosting the SPARK Annual Meeting at City of Hope.
  • Blogs and Instagram posts by SPARK students about their internship experience and stem cell research. (Click here)
To learn more about the CIRM SPARK program, please visit the CIRM SPARK webpage.

2017 CIRM SPARK Students

Amy Doan, a senior at Santa Susana High School, was mentored by Dr. Defu Zeng in the Department of Diabetes Complications and Metabolism.
Ashley Abing, a senior at St. Lucy’s Priory High School, was mentored by Dr. Dan Raz in the Department of Surgery.
Ashley Anderson, a sophomore at Mira Costa High School, was mentored by Dr. Yanhong Shi in the Department of Developmental and Stem Cell Biology.
Dylan Ta, a sophomore at Canyon High School, was mentored by Dr. Ben Shih in the Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology.
Megan Tran, a senior at West Covina High School, was mentored by Dr. Flavia Chiuppesi in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics.
Sarah Wu, a junior at West High School, was mentored by Dr. Xiaochun Yu in the Department of Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics.
Sean Chen, a sophomore at San Marino High School, was mentored by Dr. Binghui Shen in the Department of Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics.
Zina Patel, a junior at Troy High School, was mentored by Dr. Jacob Berlin in the Department of Molecular Medicine.

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: (1) The Getty Conservation Institute and Museum, (2) Natural History Museum, (3) The 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” from Carly Rae Jepson,  and "Let it Grow” from the Disney movie Frozen.
  • A flashmob in the City of Hope library.