Preparing STEM Technicians for Bioscience Data Acquisition and Analysis

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Addressing global challenges in health, climate, energy, and agriculture requires a highly skilled STEM workforce that is knowledge-based and science-driven. Benchtop multimode plate readers, digital imagers, and RNA/DNA sequencers, generate enormous amounts of data requiring employees to be data literate. Life Science employers are looking for employees who have expertise in lab bench skills and in computing, data analysis, and bioinformatics. The goal of this project at Merritt College is to develop a Bioscience data analysis certificate program that will prepare students to perform data analysis in applied bioscience research. The program will train STEM students to design, set up and execute experiments; operate and collect data from automated equipment; and conduct data analysis of large data sets. This project will help fill the Bioscience, Biotechnology and Life Science pipelines with well-trained individuals with both experimental and data analysis skills that are in high demand by industry.

This project will educate STEM technicians to design bioanalytical, sequencing, and imaging assays on High Throughput and High Content equipment. Students will collect, clean, and organize the resulting large data sets and conduct data analysis utilizing biostatistics, Excel, Tableau, and the programming languages R and Python. Three specific aims will guide the work of the project. First is to develop a new Bioscience program with three integrated courses leading to a Certificate of Achievement. Second is to design and implement physical and digital infrastructure to support the program. Third, and finally, is to put in place a sustainable recruitment and retention plan to fill each new cohort of students, with an emphasis on increasing the number of underrepresented minorities enrolling and completing the Bioscience Data Acquisition and Analysis Technician Certificate of Achievement program. The results of this work will be disseminated locally, regionally, and nationally through websites, social media, industry advisory meetings, and conferences.

Project PI: 
Candy Mintz, PhD (PI)
Host Organization: Merritt College
Other Collaborators: 
Marie Amboy (Co-PI, Merritt College)
Grant number: Due 2301294
Project Contact Info: 
Oakland CA