Gift directed toward future stem cell scientists

Jim Rosenthal, who has generously supported HSCI since 2005 through gifts to the institute’s general fund, recently made a pledge to support Harvard’s efforts to educate future generations of stem cell scientists — undergraduates who are taking courses in the university’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology.

Rosenthal, a Harvard graduate, is CEO of Kaplan Ventures, which develops and grows innovative companies at the intersection of education, technology, and compliance. The company’s portfolio includes businesses such as test prep and English-language instruction in Israel, online high schools, compliance training, and partnerships with universities to get degree programs online and to recruit and train international students.

“We’ve always been intrigued by the possibilities of stem cell research, and there is no better place to do this work than Harvard, which has so many of the innovators in the field,” said Rosenthal. “My wife and I love that we have the opportunity to support programs that benefit undergraduates in this department — the innovators of the future — and feel fortunate that we can play a role in such an important endeavor. Harvard is the leader in both stem cell science and education, so we can’t think of a better investment with greater potential.”

This gift dovetails with an HSCI-sponsored undergraduate educational program. The HSCI Internship Program, now in its sixth year, is an intensive summer stem cell research experience that combines coursework and a lab internship for undergraduates from around the world (see Stem Cell Lines, Fall 2010, page 6). About half of the 35 intern positions are reserved for Harvard undergraduates, who often use the opportunity to begin pre-thesis research.