Wistar’s Biomedical Technician Training (BTT) Program was developed with the commitment to provide its students hands-on training and industry experience not traditionally delivered in academic classrooms.
The Wistar Institute’s training program has a rewarding history with many innovative biotechnology companies. Industry leader Integral Molecular has been involved with the BTT Program for over 10 years and has trained 15 BTT students and two apprentices – both of whom are now full-time employees. “Wistar’s educational programs help fill a critical need for lab technicians in the greater Philadelphia area to keep up with the growth in cell and gene therapy. The students come to us with a solid foundation of laboratory skills due to the excellent training through the BTT Program.” shares Sharon Willis, Ph.D., Vice President of Sales and Customer Relations at Integral Molecular.
Lake Paul, Ph.D., President and founder of industry collaborator BioAnalysis LLC, states “The Wistar Institute is an invaluable resource and partner of BioAnalysis, LLC, and we especially treasure the time we spend working with our Wistar interns. Enabling the life science interns with practical knowledge is paramount to our mission at BioAnalysis, LLC, which includes creating opportunities in underrepresented populations in the field of biophysics and analytical chemistry.”
The Institute continues to grow its education and workforce development opportunities – specifically regarding the BTT Program – with its newest biotechnology industry collaborator Chimeron Bio who is mentoring two Wistar BTT Program students this summer in nanoparticle production, quality control, and assessment – a first for the biotech company. This industry experience allows participants to learn how a biotech company operates, and engage with industry experts in a supportive learning environment.
For Lois Tolvinski, a graduate of Wistar’s BTT Program and Chimeron internship mentor, her career has come full circle, stating “The BTT Program really built that foundation for me to enter a career in the lab. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the program and I’m very excited to be able to provide an opportunity for the next generation of BTT students to be able to learn what it’s like to work in an industry setting.”
Chimeron Bio Founders, Dr. Jolly Mazumdar, Ph.D., MBA, and Dr. Thimmaiah Chendrimada, Ph.D., MBA, issued a joint statement – “Our internship mission aligns very well with Wistar’s philosophy of training candidates, creating opportunities in a practical and engaging work environment, advancing quality research, and being a quality player in the Philadelphia research ecosystem. We have firsthand experience with graduates of the Wistar’s BTT Program via Lois Tolvinski, Manager of Lab Operations, and a key employee in the Company. This shows that the Wistar program is working, and we are thrilled to see a past graduate mentor future interns from within the program.”
Wistar’s BTT Program expansion is currently funded by a PAsmart Grant and a grant from the National Science Foundation. Kristy Shuda McGuire, Ph.D., Wistar’s Dean of Biomedical Studies and BTT Program lead, comments, “The support we have received at the local, state, and federal level shows their belief in this Wistar program of training strong biomedical science technicians for this growing Philadelphia life science ecosystem. We are committed to providing industry training to students to propel our strong science and innovative research community forward.”
In addition to the BTT Program expansion, Wistar will also grow the Biomedical Research Technician (BRT) Apprenticeship and magnify the reach of educational opportunities for all stages of the STEM pipeline across the region – incorporating emerging talent, academic institutions, and life science businesses into an impactful network of career opportunity.