Immuno-biotechnology is one of the fastest growing disciplines in the field of biotechnology, encompassing two areas that are vital to modern medicine:
1. Developing drug and diagnostic methods that relate to the immune system and
2. Manufacturing therapeutic drugs derived from the immune system (for example, from antibodies).
Jobs in immuno-biotechnology require specialized skills that are not typically addressed in college or K12 biotech programs.
The gap between evolving industry needs and existing training means that even college graduates and incumbent industry workers must seek additional training if they are to acquire and/or succeed in these jobs.
By offering enhanced educational experiences to students enrolled in two-year college degree- and certificate programs and connecting this curriculum with secondary school education, this project at Shoreline Community College in Washington will educate a wide variety of biotechnology workers in line with industry needs as it provides a robust education and training program to support the growing immunobiotechnology industry of Washington state and the United States. The deliverables and best practices developed through the project will be disseminated through coordination with Bio-Link (a National ATE Center for Biotechnology), at Life Sciences Teaching Resources Community website, in faculty and teacher development institutes hosted at Shoreline Community College and at Austin Community College, and through biology education journals and conferences.
Biotechnology is a dynamic industry, where continually changing methods and practices must be reflected in technician training and continuing education to ensure the emerging and incumbent workforce possesses current, high demand skills. Currently no other project in ATE's Bio-Link network offers a certificate or specialty training in immunobiotechnology. This project intends to fill this gap by creating portable courses in immunobiotechnology for use in degree and certificate programs by two-year colleges and kit-based instructional units that can be used by high school teachers in a variety of secondary biology courses. Investigators at Shoreline Community College in Washington state, collaborating with Digital World Biology and consulting with advisors from the region's biotechnology industry, will incorporate immunobiotechnology topics in multiple courses in the college's existing biotechnology program and will create new immunobiotechnology courses that respond to the emerging needs of local industry. New courses include Case Studies in Drug Development, Cancer Biology, Quality Systems, Advanced Bioinformatics, and two special projects courses providing independent research experiences for students. The new courses will serve as elective courses for current and future students enrolled in Shoreline's Biotechnology Associates of Applied Arts and Sciences (A.A.A.S.) Degree and Biotechnology Certificate programs. The new courses also comprise the core of a stackable Immunobiotech certificate aimed at graduates and incumbent industry workers seeking to update their knowledge and skills. The new immunobiotechnology courses will be disseminated to the broader biotechnology technician education community via the Bio-Link Course-in-a-Box(TM) feature. In addition, the project team will develop and pilot two high school level kit-based instructional units in immunobiotechnology - Infectious Disease and Cancer Biology - to encourage secondary students to complete high school and seek college-level education. In the future these kits will be available to local teachers through Shoreline's existing Biotechnology Program kit loan program. The dissemination of the portable college-level courses and high school-level kits is likely to dramatically improve the preparedness of technicians in biotechnology nationally. A formative and summative evaluation process will be employed to continuously enhance the project activities and provide opportunities for researching and evaluating the success of the project and its deliverables.