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Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry and Legislator Tour Wistar

June 10, 2022

The Wistar Institute was awarded a PAsmart grant of $650,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry to expand education and training programs further across the region and create additional opportunities for more students to prepare for careers in the growing life science industry.

On June 9, 2022, Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier and State Senator Vincent Hughes toured the Institute to learn more about how this investment into Wistar helps bolster the Pennsylvania workforce. In addition to hearing about the various ongoing research projects, Berrier and Hughes met some of the students who are participating in the Biomedical Technician Training (BTT) Program and summer internships following the Biomedical Research Methods course offered through a collaboration between Wistar and Cheyney University.

On the tour, the visitors saw Wistar’s Training Laboratory where students engage in hands-on training in practical laboratory skills to prepare them for working in the life sciences. They heard from Maureen Murphy, Ph.D., Ira Brind Professor and Program Leader, Molecular & Cellular Oncogenesis Program, Ellen and Ronald Caplan Cancer Center, on how her research on cancer genetics in people of African descent forms the basis for coursework in Wistar’s flagship pre-apprenticeship Biomedical Technician Training Program and the Biomedical Research Methods course. The tour included visits to the Altieri Lab, Montaner Lab, and Ertl Lab to discuss Wistar’s cancer research, HIV cure efforts, and infectious disease projects and students from the BTT Program and Cheyney University spoke about their experiences.

In closing with a roundtable conversation with President and CEO Dario Altieri, M.D., and Dean of Biomedical Studies Kristy Shuda McGuire, Ph.D., the secretary and senator discussed the importance of diverse talent pipelines, providing career growth and opportunity to underserved populations, and Wistar’s integral role in forwarding these goals.

“With our newly awarded PAsmart grant, we are on track to expand our pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs in southeastern PA and create additional programs, offered to more students, and including more employers,” said Dr. Kristy Shuda McGuire. “In this growing Pennsylvania life-science industry, the talent pipeline is vital for cultivating the next generation of leaders in biomedical science.”