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The CReM Approach to Mentorship, Training, and Outreach

The CReM Strategic Plan establishes our commitment to mentoring, stating that we intend to “train the next generation of scientists and stem cell biologists to think critically, experiment rigorously, and behave ethically as proponents of ‘open-source biology.’” We focus on training across the lifetime of the scientist, from specification (deciding to become a scientist) to differentiation (training in the CReM) to maturation (our life-long duty to be available to mentor our graduates and others).

“Differentiation”: Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Training in the CReM

Our training priorities include an emphasis on critical thinking, precision of language, and allowing gradual mastery of scientific writing (grants and papers) and presenting (seminars and lab meetings). We are the home of the sole CTSI Regenerative Medicine Training Program, funded as a TL1 grant, and we host trainees from many additional T32 funded campus training programs. Examples of CReM-wide strategies to promote and improve training include:

  1. Mock Study Sections
  2. Annual career development meetings among a trainee and his or her PI, including Individualized Development Plan creation and maintenance
  3. Constructive criticism and probing throughout trainee seminar presentations, followed by formal PI feedback
  4. Presentations and career mentoring lunches with a diversity of visiting faculty including journal editors, industry scientists, NIH leaders, and CReM alumni
  5. Emphasizing the AAMC compact (between mentor and grad student or post doc) for all new trainees. Presented by the PI throughout the onboarding/orientation process

“Specification” and Outreach: Inclusivity, deciding to become a scientist, and a responsibility to our community and our patient constituencies

As stated in our strategic plan, “The CReM will be recognized as a community resource and highly interactive national advocate for patient education, expanding programs dedicated to: a) community outreach and education, b) interactions with patient and disease-focused foundations, and c) the education of the international patient community regarding the perils of unproven stem cell therapies.” We take seriously our obligation to introduce the next generation to a life in science and to share our knowledge with the corresponding communities. The CReM hosts rotating high schoolers to graduate students, welcoming those to experience science through the CReM, while also travelling weekly to a local elementary school. We are also committed to increasing diversity in our trainees and faculty, particularly across BU graduate training programs, by raising funds for and participating in the following national and local initiatives:

1. BU STaRS (Summer Training as Research Scholars)
  1. Designed to promote access to graduate education for traditionally underrepresented students in science and medicine.
  2. The CReM has supported the launch of this program and have hosted several students in the past four years
2. BU RISE (Research in Science and Engineering)
  1. Program for high school interns during a six-week summer term
  2. The CReM has hosted students through the internship track pairing high school students with CReM doctoral and postdoctoral trainees
3. BU PREP (Boston University School of Medicine Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program)
  1. Designed to increase under-represented minority recruitment to BU graduate training programs
  2. Includes the CReM, PiBS, and our TL1
  3. We have hosted one of the three inaugural students to arrive on campus through this new initiative and have written grants to fund this program