Integrating Data Science and Hands-on Experience into the Community College Biotechnology Classroom with Applications to Antibody Engineering

Antibodies are proteins naturally produced by the vertebrate immune system. They are important in biotechnology, serving as reagents in research, diagnostics, and therapeutics. Using antibody engineering as a focus for training, students at Kap'olani Community College (KCC) will learn practical skills for the biotechnology workforce. Indeed, the biotechnology industry is experiencing a period of growth that requires talented personnel trained across many disciplines, including data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Moreover, the pandemic severely impacted the economy in Hawai'i due to its heavy reliance on tourism. Thus, to diversify the economy and create high-paying jobs in high-tech, knowledge-based, and emerging industries such as biotechnology, the state of Hawai'i is interested in diversifying innovative industries to ensure the state can function in a technologically advanced world. As a minority serving institution, with a native Hawaiian student population of ~20%, KCC contributes to the enhancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM. The unique opportunity to introduce antibody engineering into KCC's regular biotechnology curriculum will contribute to the building of a capable workforce for the growing biotechnology and biomanufacturing sectors in Hawai'i. This project will also contribute to the diversification of the economy in Hawai'i and have a positive impact on native Hawaiian students and the biotech industry in the state of Hawai'i and across the nation.

This project will introduce new antibody engineering modules to the biotechnology program at Kapi'olani Community College. The first goal is to train students to enter the biotechnology workforce. The second goal is to demonstrate the importance of data science in biotechnology and biomanufacturing and to enhance the undergraduate experience. The third goal is to train students in the design, production, purification, and characterization of antibodies using the Design-Build-Test paradigm. Accomplishing these goals will extend the capabilities of the Monoclonal Antibody Service Facility and Training Center (MASFTC). The specific aims for this project are: (1) Develop classroom and laboratory modules to support experiential-based undergraduate learning and research activities using the Design-Build-Test paradigm as applied to antibody engineering. (2) Develop data science and bioinformatics education modules with a web-based graphical user-interface to guide classroom activities and laboratory components with an emphasis on undergraduate research experiences. (3) Establish the KCC-Antibody Center of Excellence (KCC-ACE) database to record the Design-Build-Test activities carried out by KCC students and faculty. This project is funded by the Advanced Technological Education program that focuses on the education of technicians for the advanced-technology fields that drive the nation's economy. The recipient sponsored research office is the Institute for Future Intelligence, INC in Natick, Massachusetts

Project PI: 
Dylan Bulseco
Host Organization: Kapíolani Community College
Other Collaborators: 
John Berestecky (Co-PI)
Grant number: DUE 2300976
Project Contact Info: 
Natick MA