We write to you today to introduce you to InnovATE BIO , the new National Science Foundation-funded Advanced Technological Education Center in Biotechnology . This new center will continue the work of the first national center, Bio-Link, which established much of the communication infrastructure and comradery now in place among individuals in Biotechnology Programs, the Biotechnology industry, ATE centers and projects, workforce agencies, and related-trade organizations.
We hope that the Biotechnology Community (educators, students, industry, workforce and trade organizations) will come to value the InnovATE BIO National Biotechnology... Read more
Bio-Link and its collaborator, Pellet Productions (the creators of ATETV.org), are proud to announce the release of our new educational interactive production: Making the Call: Quality in Biomanufacturing. The purpose of this “choose your own adventure” video is to prepare students to work in a regulated biomanufacturing environment. With YouTube technology, students can experience virtually the issues faced by biomanufacturing employees, immersing them in a world where quality is paramount. Students will be asked to make decisions and different outcomes, some good, some not, will unfold depending on their choices. The production can now... Read more
Stem cell research holds great promise for improved healthcare and regenerative medicine. However because the field is so new, instructors need help in learning what to teach and how to teach it.
Funding from the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technology Education program allowed teachers to learn about this new area through workshops last summer at Alamance Community College, Austin Community College (ACC), and Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC).
Bill Woodruff, retired department head of Alamance's biotechnology program, taught professors from around the country about stem cell technology, both its potential and the practical aspects needed... Read more
This is our final day on the set where the educational interactive movie: Making the Call: Quality in Biomanufacturing, is being filmed by the amazing film crew from Pellet Productions. This talented group from Pellet is producing hours of professional footage that will be processed and edited into a “choose your own adventure” movie that will prepare students to work in a regulated biomanufacturing environment. The Pellet team, led by executive producer Anthony Manupelli, includes director Bob Roche; camera operators Gilberto Nobrega and Jason York; writer and science editor, David Levin; sound Keith McManus; lighting experts, John Minard and Ricky... Read more
A short behind-the-scenes video clip can be seen here. In this clip you will see the director, Bob Roche (green shirt) coaching the actors, actor Ariel Zuckerman explaining the crisis being filmed from his perspective, and Dan Mardirosian explaining the disaster that can occur when there is too much foam in a bioreactor. Read more
This is day 2 on the set where the educational interactive movie: Making the Call: Quality in Biomanufacturing is being filmed. The purpose of this “choose your own adventure” movie is to prepare students to work in a regulated biomanufacturing environment. Yesterday our intrepid actors encountered several workplace challenges in their roles as biomanufacturing technicians. The character, Corrine, accidentally turned the wrong valve potentially contaminating a batch of the life-saving (fictitious) drug, Squabanin. How she handles this crisis will determine the fate of her career…
Today we are introduced to a new character, the production manager played by Aseem... Read more
Bio-Linkers Jeanette Mowery, Vivian Ngan-Winward, and Lisa Seidman have traveled to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Biomanufacturing Education and Training Center for the filming of an educational interactive movie: Making the Call: Quality in Biomanufacturing. The purpose of this “choose your own adventure” movie is to prepare students to work in a regulated biomanufacturing environment. During the movie, students will view scenarios that might occur in the workplace and will be asked to make decisions as if they were the employees in those situations. Different outcomes, some good, some not, will unfold depending on the student’s decisions. This movie project... Read more
In spring 2013, the National Center for Education and the Economy (NCEE) issued the results of a research study that analyzed the math and English requirements for community college students entering nine popular occupational fields, including biotechnology, nursing, computer programming, and business. The study addressed the question: "What does it really mean to be college and work ready"? I contributed to the research as the only non-mathematician on the mathematics panel. I will briefly summarize my thoughts relating to the math portion of the study; you can download the full report and reach your own conclusions at https://ncee.org/college-and-work-ready/ .... Read more
My lab partner, Allison, and I have been assured that troubleshooting is a desired skill and that we will be grateful for our current Proteins woes later in our careers. And I'm proud to say that despite repeated setbacks, we've put our big-girl lab coats on, looked that ?-galactosidase in its ornery eye, and paraphrased the words of the incomparable "Rowdy" Roddy Piper in the best B movie ever, They Live:
"We have come here to chew bubblegum and purify proteins... and we're all outta bubblegum."
A run-down of the problems we've encountered and the ferreted out causes:... Read more
What an amazing time! I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the 2013 ATE Principal Investigators Conference and I'm grateful to be able to share the experience here! There's just so much to share, I thought it best to do a time line in pictures:
We arrived in Washington D.C. at noon on a Wednesday and hustled over to the Omni Shoreham hotel where the conference was being held:
Who is the microscopic answer to the Blue Man group? Find out in this week's blog post!
Well, they sure weren't cute little carrot colonies.
There was a serious dichotomy to this week's work. Everything either turned out fabulously or fell flat on its face. Let's start with Cell Culturing:
The carrots look like an entirely successful experiment in growing mold and bacteria, so it was back to the drawing board on that one. And I'm seriously mourning my lovingly-tended CHO cells. I have a feeling that next week I'll be doing the Chinese hamster... Read more
This story just cracked me up! Gel photography with a cell phone? Can it work?
So here's what happened:
In Mo Bio we've been working on cutting the pAMP we purified from our super sweet transformed E. coli JM 109 cells with BamH I and Hind III and then electrophoresing to compare our results against negative and positive controls to see how we did. But after bathing the gels in ethidium bromide we discovered - eeek! - no photography paper. So we tried taking pictures with our phone:
Just kidding. We're too nerdy to be this coordinated. Allison and Holly are just good sports.
Along with the hoodies, jeans and wind-tousled hair, the autumn weather has brought a slew of new classes:
Molecular Biology I:
This past week in Mo Bio we worked on learning to set up restriction digests. While I was initially intimidated by the calculations, I warmed up when I realized how "logic puzzle-esque" it really is. We also whipped some competent Escherichia coli JM109 cells, by taking a sample from a mid-log phase suspension culture, spinning... Read more
Madison College student blogger Mandy Hunter is back on-line and raring to go! No bull! Mandy ponders what it means to be called a "scientist" and shares her summer internship experience working in the barns and learning how to collect semen.
I can't believe I just started the third and final year of my program (you can take the Biotechnology Laboratory Technician program in two years, but I opted for the three year plan, largely because I have my hands full with a veritable gaggle of progeny). All summer long I thought "Only nineteen credits to go! This is... Read more
Madison College Students attend the Sustainability Summit and learn about renewable energy.
From left to right, myself, Holly and Stephanie in from of the Madison College display. Photo courtesy of Dr. Thomas Tubon.
On March 7 th some of my classmates and I were lucky enough to attend the Sustainability Summit and Exposition in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We wandered the Exposition Hall before the plenary sessions and saw a lot of exciting ideas put into practice. From bio digesters at UW Oshkosh (who kindly invited our program to take a field trip to their campus... Read more
Testing bacteria, starting an internship, and taking care of biochemistry!
That's me, the new Production Technician Intern at ABS, Global.
It appears my interview faux pas was forgiven. I felt like Sally Field when they emailed to tell me ("You like me! You really like me!"). I started on March 21 and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I mentioned before that the company had graciously agreed to let me blog about the experience. When I went in to tour the facility I asked if they'd prefer I only share information available on their website, as I... Read more
I love imaging. Especially imaging using antibodies.
I spent a large amount of time recently creating images of differentiated human iPS cells... and I loved it.
A couple of weeks ago, I was giving a plate of undifferentiated stem cells to practice passaging and removing unwanted differentiation. I noticed that there was a very cool-looking neural field developing on the plate, and decided that instead of removing the developing neurons, I would allow them to continue to grow for a couple of days and then do some imaging of them. I have grown to love the microscope over... Read more
Kelly Rose here, newest blogger for Bio-link.org. I never know where to begin with stuff like this so I'm going to get right to it.
A little background on me: I am currently attending Madison College's Post-Baccalaureate Intensive Certificate in Biotech program. Last semester, I was in the Associates Biotech Lab Technician program (you may remember me, but perhaps not, from Mandy Hunter's blog waaaaay back when she first started. We were in Cell Biology together last semester. I can only hope to be half as good at this as she is.) Since then I... Read more
Madison students discover the fun of photographing bacteria with a cell phone, separate dyes and protein with gel filtration chromatography, and raise money through the power of sugar.
While we were learning how to stain slides in Micro, Scott experienced a moment of true genius and got his phone to take pictures through the oculars of the microscope. He kindly shared the pictures with me and allowed me to share them here (the colors are a little off from being taken through the lens and then sent to me via email):
Biotech is more than just science... it is business.
Because biotech is creating useful products via biological systems, business is a very important part. In the post-bacc program, we have a weekly business class where we learn about the basics of business organization and management.
Earlier in the program we completed an 8-week project where we had to create a mock company and sell a product. At the end of the 8 weeks we were expected to present our companies at a mock venture capital fair. At the fair, students from the associates program would invest in our... Read more
Mandy reflects on aspirations, precipitation and why a background in fast food makes your lab work more efficient.
(Yup, it's my birthday and I've waxed philosophical.)
3. You don't have to be a school teacher . Bear with me, here. I greatly appreciate teachers. A lot of my friends are teachers. As a matter of fact, a disproportionate amount of my female friends are teachers and I think I know why.
Growing up, I listened to the men in my family brag that my paternal grandmother, who spent her early years in very... Read more
I thought it would be neat this week to post some of the pictures that haven't quite fit in with other posts. I take dozens a week and am always impressed with my classmates for not ducking behind the benches when they see me coming with a camera. They really are great sports about it. So here's my little tribute to my classmates and the work we've been doing. Up above are some cookies I made for a Biotech Club meeting, and below is the yogurt... Read more
Mandy's been busy making cheese ( Madison College is in Wisconsin after all! ), bioprospecting in animal poo and finding out that washing your hands doesn't kill the stuff under your fingernails.
Think back to middle school. Remember when your science teacher was demonstrating the scale of the universe and our relative insignificance in comparison? Remember how that teacher told you that if Earth was the size of a pen tip, Jupiter would be a marble and the Sun would be the size of a grapefruit? Remember how you were taught that if the Milky Way were a football... Read more
Mandy Hunter spends the week exploring bench top fermenters, bacteria that grow beneath your nails, chromatography, and still has time to tell us about a January 30th Marrow Registery Drive at MATC!
What a busy, busy start to the semester and the New Year! This semester I have Chromatography, Bioprocess Technology, Applied Microbiology and Chemistry for Biotechnology. No more seven credit semesters for me! But I suppose I can afford a full course load now that I'm not engaging in 3 a.m. stare downs like this anymore:
At least he's sleeping through the night now.... Read more
Writing grant proposals is stressful. So is reviewing grant proposals. One thing that I think will help to make the process smoother for both parties is to understand that a good grant proposal has a story. The more you, the writer, consciously understand, explore, and express that story, the more compelling the proposal and the better the reviewers will understand it. This will make life better for everyone.
People who come from the hard sciences are likely to be suspicious of connecting the word "story" with the term "grant proposal." But, let's think about it. A story has characters... Read more
The film visits Madison College and Mandy Hunter tells us about trying to catch beta particles and why dry ice is awesome in the dark.
Last week some of my classmates, one of our instructors and I were filmed for a possible informational segment on our Biotech program. We recreated an experiment we had performed testing various disinfectants. No word yet on when it will air on our local TV channel, but here's a picture of our instructor, Jean, and the experiment:
In Cell Bio, we've been learning about gene... Read more
I can't believe there's only about six weeks left to the semester. I'm almost half way through my career at Madison College. Only another three semesters left after this one! I remember being a little apprehensive about pursuing a degree and telling my dad "Holy Cow, maybe I'm too old to go back to school. I'll be almost 40 before I'm a graduate." And he replied "If you don't go back, what will you be when you're 40?" Do you think dads just sit around thinking up wise things to say?... Read more
First, in Cell Bio, we broke out the pipe cleaners again to demonstrate meiosis. Anything that involves trying to figure out what is going to wind up where makes me want to tuck my head into my bellybutton and curl up into a ball, as I am the most spatially unaware person EVER. Seriously, you do not want me on your team if we're shooting pool. So the visual aids really helped the whole she-bang coalesce in my head. That and the patient handholding of my classmates:... Read more
Well, the answer's right there in the question. As long as I can remember, I've wanted to know why? Why, how, where, who and what the heck happened.
My name is Mandy Hunter and I'm currently in my second of three years as a student in Madison College's Biotechnology Laboratory Technician program. When I made the decision to leave the field I'd been in for the last ten years and go back to school, I knew that I wanted to attend a two year college. And I knew that if I was... Read more
These are terms being brandished in the circles of my professional life. I suspect that large infusions of grant dollars from the Department of Labor (DOL) are at least partially responsible for the introduction of these terms into our collective consciousness. I was recently a minor participant in the writing of a DOL grant proposal and therefore tried to understand these terms and the mindset behind them. Certification, credentialing, and other such undertakings are based on identifying, as exactly as possible, what people must know/do in a certain situation.... Read more