Local Principals, Teachers Attend Biotechnology Event at The Wistar Institute

Local Principals, Teachers Attend Biotechnology Event at The Wistar Institute

March 11, 2008

(PHILADELPHIA—March 12, 2008) – Philadelphia high school principals, superintendents, and teachers learned about the growing biotechnology industry and how to prepare students for careers in biotechnology when the first-ever Biotechnology Day was held February 25 at The Wistar Institute. 

The event was a project of the Biotechnology Education Task Force, organized by the Life Science Career Alliance, The Wistar Institute, and Community College of Philadelphia.

“Biotechnology is one of the fastest-growing industries in the Philadelphia area, and academic leaders need to know about the many opportunities this field offers today’s young people,” said Nadine A. Lomakin, M.Ed., executive director of the Life Science Career Alliance.

Russel E. Kaufman, M.D., president and CEO of The Wistar Institute, added: “As a member of the region’s vital life sciences community, Wistar is pleased to help with this important effort to engage in dialog with our local educators.”

The program for principals and superintendents featured panel discussions of the impact of biotechnology on the Philadelphia region and methods for integrating biotechnology into current classroom curricula. Panelists included Lisa J. Nutter, president, Philadelphia Academies, Inc.; Cassandra Jones, Ed.D., interim chief academic officer of the Philadelphia School District; Clair Greenwood, Select Greater Philadelphia Development Corp., and Russel E. Kaufman, M.D., president and CEO of The Wistar Institute.

The program for teachers focused on how to prepare students for biotechnology opportunities in the workforce and an open discussion focused on the role of biotechnology in the classroom. Resources for teachers including a guide to biotechnology careers, helpful Web links, and brochures were provided. The program ended with a reception in the Wistar atrium.

Recognizing that the region has many educational resources dedicated to training in bio-pharmaceutical fields, the Life Science Career Alliance brought together representatives from secondary and post-secondary as well as career and technical institutions, including The Wistar Institute and Community College of Philadelphia, with other key stakeholders to form the Biotechnology Education Task Force, which began meeting in July 2007.

The goal of the task force is to review the various biotechnology/pharmaceutical initiatives taking place throughout the region and discuss how partner organizations can work together to promote careers in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, influence curricula, and develop new educational endeavors with minimum duplication of efforts.

The Life Science Career Alliance is a public/private partnership that includes members representing industry, labor, education, and the workforce investment boards in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. Its mission is to grow the life science workforce and address the critical shortages of skilled and support workers needed to foster economic growth in the region. The alliance defines the life sciences broadly to include health care organizations, medical device/diagnostic service providers, the pharmaceutical sector, and the growing biotechnology industry. On the web at www.lscalliance.org.

The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. The Institute works actively to transfer its inventions to the commercial sector to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible. On the web at www.wistar.org