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MassBay Announces Grant to Create Center for Therapeutics and Genomics Training

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

WELLESLEY HILLS, Mass. (May 14, 2019) – MassBay Community College is pleased to announce it has received a $500,000 grant from the Baker-Polito Administration and Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) to create a Center for Therapeutics and Genomics Training on the Wellesley Hills campus. This Center will transform our current biotechnology laboratories with upgraded equipment to allow for the development of an array of new credit and non-credit courses in areas such as Molecular and Developmental Biology, Gene Therapy, Edible Vaccines, Genomics, Next Generation Sequencing Technologies, and Biomanufacturing. The new Center will also offer new educational opportunities for high school students, as well as create a new model of corporate partnerships that will offer employee-training programs for regional employers.

MassBay’s biotechnology department is recognized for its focus on providing students with cutting edge training to meet the industry’s growing demand for a highly-skilled technician and Research Associate positions. The Center for Therapeutics and Genomics Training (CTGT) will introduce students to modern techniques, incorporating rigorous investigative practices in the College’s biotechnology curriculum. Students will be trained through research projects that address contemporary issues, test their scientific knowledge and skills in the real-world, and prepare them for employment.

“It is a fascinating time for the biotechnology community, and I am very excited and motivated to lead the development of the new Center and the various programs of our biotechnology department at MassBay,” said Dr. Nirmal K. Singh, MassBay Biotechnology Department Chair. “Currently, genomics and therapeutics are two of the most critical and fascinating fields of study in biotechnology. The new training Center will be pioneering at the community college level and will be well-positioned to be a national model for other two-year programs.”

This grant will fund state-of-the-art equipment such as a high-content imaging system for cell analyzing, as well as a high-grade and industry-aligned gene analyzer to educate students in biotechnology, biomanufacturing, and biopharma. Previously, Dr. Singh’s groundbreaking research identified a therapeutic target for the rare genetic disease, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA, which resulted in a patented treatment for this incurable childhood disease. Our new center will put students on track to develop the foundation to participate in research, while learning from one of the leading researchers in this field.

“I’m thrilled that the new Center will be housed in Wellesley where our students can access our remarkable biotechnology Associate of Science degree programs,” said MassBay STEM Dean, Dr. Chitra Javdekar. “This center with its exciting new offerings will open new doors of opportunity for our student community.”

“We are excited about the opportunity to create a Center for Therapeutics and Genomics Training at MassBay,” said MassBay President, Dr. David Podell. “And we are extremely grateful to Mass Life Sciences for their support for this important initiative, which will allow us to better prepare underrepresented students for careers in the life sciences. MassBay is committed to addressing the skills gap, while also understanding this will have an enormous impact on the regional workforce.”

This grant is part of a $30 million Baker-Polito Administration capital grant fund to support the life sciences sector. MassBay was one of 11 project recipients across the Commonwealth to receive funding to help sustain Massachusetts’ competitive edge in advancing human health and connecting communities to the innovation economy.

This is the sixth round of the competitive capital program administered by the MLSC. Applicants are academic organizations, research institutions, research hospitals, business incubators, and other non-profit organizations. The Mass Life Science Center (MLSC) recognizes that investment in capital projects and infrastructure is necessary to create and sustain the attributes that make Massachusetts attractive to innovation sectors, such as the life sciences. To date, the MLSC has awarded or committed more than $455 million to support capital projects across the state.