Friday, December 17, 2010

This blog is about the latest edition of BIOMAN Journal

BIOMAN Journal is a colorful report, filled with photos from this year's four-day workshop held in state-of-the-art laboratory facilities at Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington, Indiana. It captures the facts and feelings only a trip to BIOMAN can bring.

At BIOMAN participants come in contact with new curricula and techniques that can really turn students on to the technology of biotechnology and biomanufacturing . Educators and industry representatives gather together here to network and learn from each other. With the most up-to-date tools, manuals, instructors and equipment, educators and technicians engage in hands-on science together. Tours of biomanufacturing sites, qualified keynote speakers, a special vendor show (with contests and prizes), plus all the unexpected connections inspire attendees as well as presenters.

At BIOMAN, education and industry meet to create new contacts and opportunities. Biomanufacturing is a high growth industry driven by demand for technicians who know the good manufacturing practices required in the highly regulated biomanufacturing industry. Two year associate degrees and certificates in biomanufacturing bring opportunities as technicians in upstream processing (cell culture), downstream processing (purification), quality control, quality assurance and several other areas.

Readers of BIOMAN Journal are invited to enjoy highlights from these four days of hands-on workshops, panel discussions, classes, and keynotes. A detailed report on statistical analysis, using a novel card shuffling exercise, reveals the significance of data resulting from clinical trials. Representatives from Bio-Rad presented a detailed, hands-on workshop on cellulosic biofuels - a serious hope for the world's energy future. A tour of Cook Pharmica demonstrated the vital partnerships possible between educators and industry. The workshop on production of Human Serum Albumin (HSA) in Pichia P replicated a several week process in four days. Based on the Global Biomanufacturing Curriculum developed by NBC2, it included up­stream and downstream processing techniques and quality control biochemistry analysis. All experiments were performed using the actual tools, processes and procedures used in the biomanufacturing industry.

BIOMAN illustrates the dynamic powers at play in the burgeoning field of biomanufacturing. It inspires educators to prepare the skilled and ready workers this growing industry so urgently needs.Teachers return home with enlarged understanding of the biomanufacturing field, armed with NBC2 manuals and the latest tips in running sophisticated hands-on labs. New ideas help them engage students in learning.

Training in ELISAs goes virtual

During her hands-on BIOMAN workshop on enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) techniques, presenter Barbara Bielska used a three-part, blended approach. This gave participants a unique and effective learning experience. First, her classroom style lecture - before entering the lab - gave participants some basic understanding in antibody-antigen interactions, a key to the ELISA. This technology is used for diagnostic tests and is an important tool in biomedical research. It's used, for example, to develop anti cancer drugs.

Becoming familiar with the subject, Bielska next brought the class into a high tech, laboratory that is virtual. Projected on a large screen were images of real-life biomanufacturing tools and equipment, clearly shown in detail. Working the controls and meters of this virtual laboratory, Bielska carefully prepared the participants for the work about to be done. Once the class moved into the actual laboratory the intricate hardware, fragile glass components and complicated controls were much less mysterious and intimidating. As the experiment began, participants could work confidently. It was as if they had each been there before. And they had!

Secondary schools can help prevent trained biomanufacturing worker shortfalls

Surveys show the United States is falling behind in math and science education at the K-12 level. At this rate, our nation will have trouble meeting the needs of bioscience companies for skilled, technical workers.

A study conducted by Battelle, BIO, and the Biotechnology Institute in 2009 concluded that we are not measuring up in terms of K-12 bioscience education. It says wide disparities in student performance exist, from state to state, in these crucial areas. Protein Is Cash workshops and the BIOMAN conference help address this issue. Three high school teachers attended BIOMAN 2010, prompted by earlier Protein is Cash workshops they attended: Matthew Christian and Greg Panzanaro from upstate New York and James Leach from Rhode Island. Industrial biomanufacturing facilities are located in each region and these faculty seek information and hands-on activities to bring back to their biology, chemistry, physics and biotechnology courses. This stimulates student understanding and interest in biomanufacturing careers.

Get your copy of the latest BIOMAN Journal here:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bioman visits New York

From 3/22 through 3/25 Bioman ran a 4 day workshop in NY, Hosted by Hudson Valley Community College. The workshop exposed some upstate NY high school science teachers to the Bioman curriculum and ran through some lab experiences.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Sonia Wallman, Ph.D.

Executive Director NBC2

email: swallman at

The purpose of this blog is to provide information and a perspective on relatively new advanced technology career paths in biomanufacturing. Biomanufacturing represents the maturation of the biotechnology industry which began in 1982 with the commercial production of human insulin in Escherichia coli cells by Eli Lilly in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Biomanufactured products are made of or by living cells. Production technicians must nurture the cellular factories that make a bioproduct (upstream processing) and then purify these cellular products (downstream processing). Quality control technicians sample upstream and downstream processes for product purity, identity, strength and so forth. Biomanufactured products include biopharmaceuticals, replacement organs, nutriceuticals, industrial enzymes and biofuels to name a few.

Several areas of the country are successfully developing the infrastructure to support careers in biomanufacturing. We want to use this blog to communicate best practices and to get a conversation going relative to how to support the development of local biomanufacturing education and training and workforce infrastructures in locales with biomanufacturing facilities. We welcome faculty and teachers, students, and the general public to the BIOMAN blog.



Recombinant Human Insulin first commercially produced by Eli Lilly and Company in 1982. Technicians are needed to biomanufacture the bioproducts, aseptically, and to quality test them for purity, identity, activity and strength. Biomanufactured medicines are currently used to treat multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, psoriasis, breast cancer and other cancers.

An interesting link from January 5, 2010 New York Times by Susan Diesenhouse entitled Biopharmaceutical Industry Is Banking on Boston:

The article indicates that more than a million square feet of new biopharmaceutical manufacturing facilities/factories/plants are in the process of being built for the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals near Boston/Cambridge. The companies and their locations are Bristol-Myers Squibb in Devens, MA; Shire in Lexington, MA; Genzyme in Framingham, MA; and Organogenesis in Canton, MA.

Biopharmaceutical manufacturing requires technicians to do the production and quality control work that is the key to a biomanufacturers success in producing a quality biopharmaceutical.

There are many institutions in the area that offer biomanufacturing technician education and training and are actively involved in developing the infrastructure for biomanufacturing education and training and workforce to support the needs of these companies for a local technical workforce to make and test the bioproduct. Many of the educational institutions are already partnered with one or more of these local biomanufacturers such as Minuteman Regional High School (MRHS) nearby Shire Human Genetic Therapies in Lexington, MA. Minuteman is in turn partnered with the biotechnology program at nearby Middlesex Community College in Lowell, MA. The partnership is led by Mary Jane Kurtz at MRHS and New England Hub Director for the Northeast Biomanufacturing and Collaborative (NBC2).

The Northeast Biomanufacturing Center and Collaborative (NBC2) is a local/regional/national education, industry and organization collaborative whose mission is to coordinate local and regional efforts into a national biomanufacturing education and training system to promote, create, and sustain a qualified workforce to improve the quality of life.

For the location and information on community college, university and high school programs that include biomanufacturing education and training in New England, the Northeast and the nation see