Community College Day at BIO 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011 - 12:00pm - 9:30pm
Embassy Suites DC Convention Center
Capital Ball Room A
900 10th Street NW
Washington, D.C.

Community College at BIO is an annual event with a full day of presentations on the wonderful things going on in community college biotechnology programs.

8:00 to 8:30am      OPENING REMARKS - Regenerative Medicine "Today & Tomorrow"

John Ludlow, PhD, Senior Director Process Research & Assay Development, Tengion, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Dr. Ludlow has been with Tengion since 2005. After spending 10 years conducting tumor suppressor research at the University of Rochester (NY), Dr. Ludlow went on to become Director of the Cell Therapy Program for Incara Pharmaceuticals, Senior Director of the Cell Therapy Program for Vesta Therapeutics, and is currently Senior Director of Process Research and Assay Development at Tengion. He has developed and managed research and pre-clinical programs for cell and tissue engineered products, initiated clinical trial sites, and has worked closely with regulatory agencies to ensure approval of the company’s products. Dr. Ludlow has also developed internship programs at academic institutions and biotechnology companies to support undergraduate research.

8:30 to 9:00am      The View from BIO

Peter M. Pellerito, Interim Vice President for State Government Relations and Alliance Development, Biotechnology Industry Organization

9:00 to 10:00am      Opportunities for Funding for Community College STEM-Rich Biotechnology/Biomanufacturing Programs  

Speakers TBA

This session will feature representatives of government agencies and foundations that provide resources for the development of programs focusing on biotechnology/bioscience education and training and the workforce.

10:00 to 10:15am      BREAK - Sponsored by Bio-Rad

10:15am to Noon      Evolving Biotech Programs


Russ Read, ForsythTech & NC BioNetwork, Winston- Salem, NC
Lisa Seidman, Madison Area Technical College, Madison, WI

This session will focus on evolving biotechnology programs that serve students in community colleges. These programs are changing in order to better respond to advances and changes in the life sciences.

 Topics and Speakers:

  • Preparing Students for New Opportunities in Stem Cell Technologies

Lisa Seidman, Madison Area Technical College, Madison, WI

Regenerative medicine is one of the rapidly growing areas in biotechnology. Madison Area Technical College has initiated a certificate program to educate students in the use of stem cells for research, clinical, and drug development applications. Students obtain extensive hands-on training in handling and characterizing stem cells. They learn about the science and ethics of stem cell use. The program also emphasizes the business and regulatory considerations relating to these cells to prepare students for employment in stem cell-based companies.

Lisa Seidman, Ph.D. has been an instructor in the Biotechnology Laboratory Technician Program at Madison Area Technical College (MATC) since 1987. She is a Co-PI of Bio-Link, a national consortium of biotechnology educational programs that is headed by the City College of San Francisco. She is the co-author of three textbooks for biotechnology students: Basic Laboratory Methods for Biotechnology: Textbook and Laboratory Reference, Basic Laboratory Calculations for Biotechnology, and Laboratory Manual for Biotechnology and Laboratory Science: The Basics. She has recently been instrumental in developing a stem cell technologies certificate program at MATC.

  •  US DOL Biotech Workforce Training Program in Ohio

 Bill Tacon, Workforce and Education, BioOhio

The Ohio Bioworkforce Training Partnership, through funding and support from the U.S. Department of Labor, helps unemployed, underemployed, temporary and part time workers gain the skills for family-sustaining employment. Guided by BioOhio (Ohio’s bioscience industry organization), six community college partners in Northeast, Northwest, Central and Southwest Ohio have worked closely with area bioscience employers to create targeted training that meets the needs of their emerging workforce. These programs include non-degree courses and certificates in: General bioscience lab skills; Biomedical Training to prepare workers for maintenance and repair of medical equipment; Pharmaceutical manufacturing; Medical Device and equipment manufacturing and 2-year degree programs in: Biotechnology/Biotechnology Science, suitable for starting employment as a research technician. The objective is to train 660 displaced or underemployed workers over three years. In addition 40 incumbent workers will receive more advanced training to move into higher level jobs.

Bill Tacon, Ph.D., as Senior Director of Workfoce and Education, leads BioOhio’s statewide strategy to build a world-class bioscience workforce infrastructure aligned with industry needs. With 30 plus years of experience in the development and commercialization of biotechnology-based products in the biopharmaceutical and agricultural biotechnology arenas, Tacon helps shape BioOhio and Ohio's biosciences future. Tacon came to BioOhio from Battelle, where he spent 12 years shaping their biotechnology focus and business, including as a key member of Battelle's Healthcare Products business sector. Prior to Battelle, Bill was Director of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at Mycogen (now part of Dow Agrosciences) Corporation, San Diego, for two years. He earned a M.S. degree in Oceanography from the University of Southampton, England, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Sussex, England.

  • The Application of NAM Endorsed Credentials in the Biotechnology Workforce Training Space

Russ H. Read, National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce

Russ H. Read will provide an overview of The Manufacturing Institute’s agreement with the National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce and its implications for the biotechnology workforce. The National Association of Manufacturer’s Manufacturing Institute and the National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce have teamed up to study the application of NAM industry endorsed credentials in the biotechnology workforce space. For more information on the NCBW- see

Russ H. Read has worked in the bioscience industry for over thirty five years. Formerly he was an executive with the Burroughs Wellcome and Glaxo Wellcome companies. He was heavily involved with the development of antivirals like AZT and 3TC which are mainstay treatments for HIV illness. Russ has a special interest in the bioscience workforce. He was CEO of the Kucera Pharmaceutical Company- a start up biopharmaceutical company based in Winston- Salem. He has recently led a national biotechnology workforce effort for six years called the National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce (NCBW). The NCBW is based in Winston-Salem and was originally a large US DOL grant but is now a part of NC BioNetwork. The NCBW focuses on achieving best practices for bioscience workforce training with its national partners such as the US DOL and the NSF. Its most recent partner is The Manufacturing Institute based in Washington, D.C. Russ is a trained biologist, educator and administrator. He taught biology and chemistry to inner city high school youth for five years while he resided in Montreal Quebec.

  • The New Bio-Link

Elaine Johnson, Executive Director, Bio-Link

The Bio-Link Next Generation National Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences receives major funding from the National Science Foundation. The Bio-Link National Center, based at City College of San Francisco, works with community and technical colleges across the nation to 1) increase the number and diversity of well-trained technicians in the workforce; 2) meet the growing needs of industry for appropriately trained technicians; and 3) institutionalize community college educational practices that make high-quality education and training in the concepts, tools, skills, processes, regulatory structure, and ethics of biotechnology available to all students. The new Center emphasizes three categories of activities and products by 1) providing direct services to faculty, teachers, counselors, students, biotechnology programs, and educational institutions, 2) stimulating information sharing and collaboration among students, faculty, industry and educational institutions, and 3) supplying expanded and improved information to students and to life-sciences and related companies. Bio-Link is one of thirteen ATE Centers that is participating in the Synergy Collaboratory for Research, Practice and Transformation that is contributing to knowledge about practices and processes that lead to achieving scale. Bio-Link’s website is

Elaine Johnson, Ph.D. serves as the Director of Bio-Link, the Next Generation National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (ATE) National Center for Biotechnology and Related Life Sciences based at City College of San Francisco. She serves on local, regional, and national educational, governmental and industry advisory panels and boards. Elaine specializes in creating a national network of biotechnology programs that include partnerships between educational institutions and industry. She promotes articulation between educational institutions in the effort to create career pathways. She also supports the Bridge to Biotechnology (B2B) effort to provide access and support for students wishing to enter biotechnology programs at community and technical colleges. She is a Co-PI on a Synergy ATE Project that focuses on scaling-up successful projects including B2B. Elaine is nationally recognized as an innovator and leader in providing education for careers in biotechnology and related life sciences.

Noon to 1:00pm LUNCH

1:00 to 2:45pm      Faces of Success: Our Graduates on Their Careers


Elaine Johnson, Bio-Link Director
Jo-Anne Hongo, Scientific Manager, Genentech

This interactive session, back by popular demand, features a lively panel of successful industry professionals who gained employability skills at community and technical colleges. Individuals share their pathways to rewarding careers in high-skill, high-wage positions in the biotechnology industry thanks to the access and affordability of targeted programs at community and technical colleges. Active audience participation is encouraged.

Topics and Speakers:

  • Shannon Lewis, Research Assistant, Sapphire Energy, San Diego, CA

I am currently working at Sapphire Energy, a biofuels company that transforms different strains of algae into gasoline and other fuels. I started out as a summer intern on a science team that worked on gene insertion and tested for gene expression. At the end of the summer, I was offered a full-time position on the Media Preparation team where I make several types of solid and liquid media. My goal is to move up in this company and become part of a scientific research and development team. I want to help eliminate the energy crisis we are currently facing. I started my biotechnology/biomanufacturing education at Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth, NH and I am starting my Bachelor’s degree at San Diego State University this fall.


  • Aziz Ahmad, Adjunct Instructor, Forsyth Technical Community College

Aziz Ahmad received his doctor of medicine degree from the University of Kabul, Kabul, Afghanistan in 1975. He worked at Duke University Medical Center in the Department of Clinical Pathology for over 21 years where he worked in service labs, clinical labs, and specialty labs such as toxicology. During this time he did some limited research on the optic nerve. Upon retirement, he decided to work toward an Associate of Applied Science in Biotechnology degree. He attended Forsyth Technical Community College where he completed all of his biotechnology courses. Presently he is serving as an adjunct instructor at Forsyth Technical Community College where he is teaching two courses of Basics of Anatomy and Physiology. He continues to finish his Associate in Applied Science degree by taking his basic remaining required courses through distance learning. His goal is to use his biotechnology education with his laboratory and medical knowledge to research drug delivery systems for the eye.


  •  More Faces of Success to Come!

2:45 to 3:00pm BREAK - Sponsored by Bio-Rad

3:00 to 4:45pm Innovative and New Programs in Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing


Sonia Wallman, Executive Director of the NBC2
This year’s panel features five programs in five states across the nation that are noteworthy in their approach to biotechnology/biomanufacturing education and training and the workforce.

 Topics and Speakers: 

  • The Institute for Food Safety Biotechnology Program

Kevin Pegg, Institute for Food Safety, Florida State College at Jacksonville, FL

Florida State College at Jacksonville’s Institute for Food Safety fills shortfalls in food testing technicians. The Phase 1 IFS is a partnership between FSCJ and Eurofins, an international analytical company. A. S. biotech students train in shared spaces with industry personnel, a concept that puts students in an industrial setting from the first day of class.

R. Kevin Pegg, Ph.D. is lead faculty for the Biotechnology A.S. degree program at Florida State College and heads the Institute for Food Safety. His background spans 25 years in industry research positions in toxicology, chemistry and engineering. A registered U.S. Patent Agent he also consults as an EPA technical advisor to communities impacted by Superfunds.

  •  STUDENTfacturED – Year 1

 Vivian Ward, Salt Lake City Community College, Salt Lake City, UT

 STUDENTfacturED (a NSF ATE-funded project) is currently being developed at SLCC to provide a contextualized practical experience to reinforce student learning in the Biomanufacturing Program. STUDENTfacturED will be a student-run contract manufacturing organization that makes products for instructional use in our college and local high school biotechnology classes – products that are Made by Students, For Students. The project’s progress to date will be presented.

 After earning her Ph.D., Dr. Vivian Ngan-Winward spent 9 years in academic research prior to entering the biotech industry. Her 7+ years of industry experience includes work as a scientist in both R&D and regulatory affairs. She returned to academia in 2008 to develop and direct a new Biomanufacturing training program (funded by a DOLoL Community-Based Job Training grant).

  •  Biotechnology & Biomanufacturing—Redefining the Workforce

Peter A. Schaefer, Hudson Valley Community College, Troy, NY

Through an ARRA stimulus grant, a partnership was established among regional stakeholders to participate in a training program for entry-level and advanced laboratory technicians in the fields of biotechnology and biomanufacturing. Unemployed worker retraining and public school career pathway development are a major focus of sustaining this effort. Participants have hands-on experience with equipment they will use in the workplace, thus minimizing the time for on-the-job training.

Peter A. Schaefer, Ph.D., has 20 years experience in biomedical research and is currently chair of an integrated sciences department at Hudson Valley Community College. He is the principal investigator of a DOL/ETA Workforce Development Grant focusing on biotechnology and biomanufacturing training.

  • MiraCosta College’s Biofuels Certificate Program

Ric Matthews, Dean of Math and Science, MiraCosta College, Oceanside, CA

MiraCosta College is developing a certificate program related to biofuels that has been funded by grants from the NSF and the State of California. Working through the EDGE Initiative (Educating and Developing Workers for the Green Economy), MiraCosta will provide education and training in the growing biofuels industry to unemployed and incumbent workers within San Diego and the Imperial Valley. The Biomass Production Certificate will provide a foundation in the technologies employed by biotechnology companies engaged in the production of microalgal biomass for biofuels and other applications for biomass production careers. The college will begin offering classes to fulfill the certificate requirements by summer 2011.

Ric Matthews: I have been at MiraCosta for almost a decade as the Dean. During this time we expanded a small R&D focused biotechnology certificate into a significant educational opportunity around both research and development and biomanufacturing, the latter in response to a new plant built a few miles from campus. As one of five national community colleges involved in a Department of Labor grant we created a state of the art teaching facility with significant contributions by the college and the biotechnology industry. We have been able to develop dedicated space and acquire specialized equipment, hire a fulltime faculty member and support staff and to create a strong relationship with the local industry. We have responded to the local needs by adding new curriculum and delivery methodologies including online and hybrid formats. Prior to joining the administration at MiraCosta, I taught biological and health sciences at San Diego Miramar College attending one of the first NSF sponsored community college biotechnology training courses at Georgetown. Before teaching fulltime I did medical research at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine for twelve years. My educational training is a Bachelors in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from UC Davis, with a minor in physiology, a Maters in Biology from San Diego State and a Masters in Educational Technology from National University.

  •  Arizona High School Biotechnology Programs Embrace 21st Century Skills with a Historical Twist

Xan Simonson, Mesa Public Schools, Mesa, AZ

Arizona high school biotechnology programs have grown exponentially since the inception of the Mesa Public Schools Biotechnology Academy in 2005. In partnership with the local community colleges, Mesa CC, South Mountain CC. and Arizona Science Foundation high school teachers and students have learned high level biomedical genomic research skills and bioinformatics. Students work side by side with Community College and University students and staff to conduct their research. Hear how the NBC2 summer institute inspired the development of teaching agricultural biotechnology, medicine, marketing and production of a real product for the community. Mesa Public Schools’ Advanced Biotechnology students learn about local desert medicinal plants, how to collect them, how to harvest the medicinal constituents from them, develop formula, make and produce a medicinal balm/salve to sell.

Xan Simonson is the Career and Technical Education Biotechnology Specialist for Mesa Public Schools. Her background spans 25 years in Biology and Biotechnology teaching and as a New Mexico Deputy Medical Investigator. She developed the Mesa Public Schools Biotechnology Program and opened the first Biotechnology Academy in Arizona in 2005. Since then the number of biotechnology programs has grown to over 100 statewide and led to the development of a statewide biotechnology teacher organization, "AZ Bioscience Leaders in Education".

4:45 to 5:00pm Wrap-Up/BIO 2012 Boston, MA – June 18-21, 2012

(Next year's session will be at BIO 2013 Chicago, IL – April 22-25)


To register:  Click HERE.

All registrants get complimentary passes to the BIO Exhibit Hall.


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