Hundreds of students explore Biotech Futures

November 17, 2010

Hands-on career event links students to biotechnology and life science careers

More than 270 Massachusetts high school students and teachers participated today in Biotech Futures, a half-day career exploration event featuring scientist speakers, panel presentations, company presentations, science demonstrations and laboratory visits at UMass Lowell.

Today’s event, organized by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd) and the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio) and sponsored by Amgen, is part of an ongoing effort to increase interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

“We know that these types of hands-on, in-the-field career events ignite scientific curiosity and passion among students, leading them to continue science study and consider science careers,” said Lance Hartford, MassBioEd Executive Director. “These students are the future of the biotechnology industry in Massachusetts and we must continue to foster their exploration.”

“Biotech Futures aligns perfectly with Amgen’s mission to support exciting and innovative programs aimed at lighting that ‘spark’ that encourages bright young minds to consider a future in science,” said Margaret Chu-Moyer, site head for Amgen’s research facility in Cambridge, MA

Students participated in several hands-on labs showcasing topics and techniques including assistive technology, microscopy, nanomanufacturing, polymer science and robotics.

David Mantus, vice president of regulatory affairs at Cubist Pharmaceuticals and a long-time mentor to students, provided the keynote address titled “We are Biotech: Science and Technology All Around Us.”

Other industry speakers included Frank Dolan of MedPanel, Erin Mullady of Amgen and David Wagner of Cubist speaking on a career professional panel; David Lichter, a research investigator in molecular medicine at Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company presenting on the drug development cycle; and MassBio Chairman Geoff Cox and Kevin Sprott of Ironwood Pharmaceuticals sharing the “Many Faces of Biotech.”

The schools participating were:

Methuen High School

Greater Lawrence Technical School

Everett High School

Concord Carlisle Regional High School

Pentucket Regional High School

The Bromfield School

Scituate High School

Salem High School

Chicopee High School

Chelsea High School

Biotech Futures is one of a series of biotechnology education and career exploration programs organized by MassBioEd. Other programs include a biannual statewide Biotechnology Job Shadow Day, the BioTeach grant program and the Learning Center courses for professional development in biotechnology.


About the MassBioEd Foundation

The Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd), founded in 2001, is a nonprofit charitable organization committed to supporting science and biotechnology education in Massachusetts through school programs, workforce training, and lifelong learning. Serving as a link between education, industry, and government, MassBioEd is working to ensure Massachusetts’ biotechnology sector, has an appropriately trained work force to meet the growing employment needs. MassBioEd’s BioTeach program provides professional development to over 500 teachers in their biotechnology curricula and provides grants and lab equipment to 179 schools across the Commonwealth. In addition, MassBioEd’s BioTech Learning Center offers professional development courses for employees in the biotech sector to advance their professional skills.

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