A perennial question among college biotech programs is "how do I make connections with industry?" Every biotech program needs industry connections for finding internships, industry members to serve on their advisory boards, and people from companies to talk to students and give presentations in class. Over time, the program's alumni can form the industry connection, but for the first five years, making these connections can be challenging.
The annual ABRF conference is particularly well-suited to helping biotech program faculty connect with their industry counterparts. ABRF stands for the Association of Biomedical Research Facilities. These are also known as core faclities or core labs.
ABRF attendees work in core laboratories at universities, companies, research institutes, government laboratories, and government agencies like the USDA. Core laboratory directors and staff would be great additions to any advisory board. They may also be willing to provide tours. Robert Fulton, Director of Technology Development at the Washington University Genome Center, gave us a wonderful tour of the Genome Institute a couple of years ago when we were in St. Louis.
To get the most out of the conference, it would be good to by present a poster describing your biotech program and showcasing your students' capabilities. A bonus is that the abstracts from ABRF posters are compiled in a publication and indexed in PubMed. For those of you on the tenure track, you'll get to include a poster and a publication in your tenure packet.
Once your poster is accepted, you can message ABRF attendees from your area and invite them to stop by and learn about your program. Leveraging the ABRF is a great way to start building or expanding your industry advisory board.
Learn more about core research facilities and the ABRF:
View presentations from the March 2019 ABRF conference - ABRF 2019 Panel Overview - Dr. Todd Smith, Digital World Biology - Bioscience Contract Service Work in Community Colleges - Dr. Linnea Fletcher, Austin Community College, PI InnovATEBIO - Contract Service Organizations - Abbe Kesterson, Blue Grass Community and Technical College - Austin Community College Bioscience Incubator - Dr. Tyler Drake - Consortium for the Advanced Manufacturing of Cell and Tissue Based Product - Dr. Thomas Tubon, Madison College