Stanford University’s Faculty Senate today approved the creation of what officials believe is the first PhD program devoted solely to stem cell science in the nation and, perhaps, the world. The new doctoral program in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine is also the first interdisciplinary doctoral program created by the School of Medicine in recent years.
School officials say the fact that the university is taking the rare step of creating a new doctoral program acknowledges the growing importance of stem cell research in the realm of biomedical science. The senate’s initial approval of the program extends for five years.
“Stem cell biology is a distinct discipline that requires unique skills and includes a scope of knowledge and a skill set that is not covered by other disciplines,” said Renee Reijo Pera, PhD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and director of the new PhD program.
Program leaders note that Stanford is among a small number of U.S. universities that have the necessary ingredients to create a doctoral program teaching the full range of stem cell science. They add that although a few other schools have recently established PhD programs involving stem cell biology, Stanford is the first to create a free-standing doctoral program dedicated solely to stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.