Students Learn Biotech Skills from Millipore, Vertex, and UMass Boston

Marshall Milner | February 18, 2010
Students Learn Biotech Skills from Millipore, Vertex, and UMass Boston

The Urban Massachusetts Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program, funded by the National Science Foundation and led by the University of Massachusetts Boston, ran a collaborative advanced bioscience research skills workshop from January 11 to January 15. Sixteen undergraduates (out of an applying pool of 50 students) with life science majors participated from the University of Massachusetts’ Boston, Dartmouth, and Lowell campuses, as well as Bunker Hill Community College and Roxbury Community College.

The Advanced Bioscience Research Skills and Career Guidance Workshop was led and taught by Dr. Sabrina Hawthorne, adjunct faculty at UMass Boston and an employee in the Bioscience Division of Millipore Corporation. Over three days at UMass Boston, staff from Millipore as well as Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated lent their time and expertise in providing students hands-on research experience in Western blotting techniques for protein detection, along with guidance in developing a resume of academic and research experiences. The students also learned about immunoblotting with Millipore’s SNAP i.d. Protein Detection System, loaned by the company under the direction of Lisa Morrill, technology manager at Millipore, which reduce the time for attaining results from as long as 24 hours to just 30 minutes.

Along with their lab work, students visited Millipore research laboratories in Danvers, Massachusetts, and also took in lectures from faculty from Harvard University, Boston University, and Bunker Hill Community College, building the students’ understanding of career opportunities in bioscience, biotechnology, and biomedical science sectors. Additionally, Alysson Nolan and Tracy Chandler from Vertex gave an overview of the job search process for full-time and internship employment, and conducted breakout sessions with students to review their resumes and advise them on how to plan for the always-competitive biotech job market. Other topics from guest lecturers (Stephen Gire, MPH, Harvard University; Dr. Ken Dower, Boston University; Dr. Belinda Kadambi, Bunker Hill Community College; Nathalie Mukadi; and Daniel Trask of UMass Boston) included the business of biology, terms and practices of the biotech industry, and lab safety practices of academic and corporate laboratories. Invaluable logistics, technical, and lab support was also provided by Yvonne Vaillancourt at UMass Boston.

Corporations or research laboratories who are interested in participating in future Bioscience Research Skills Workshops involving their techniques, processes, and equipment should contact Marshall Milner, executive director of Science Training Programs, UMass Boston and project director of the UMLSAMP Program, at 617.287.4507 and

Tags: economic development , research , the point

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