First Biotechnology Course at Hillsborough Community College

Biotechnology has established a strong foothold in Florida. According to a study conducted in 2008 by the University of Florida "Florida has become one of the fastest growing states in the life science industry, and is among the top 10 U.S. biotech centers". Given its impact on the local and state economy, Florida Center of Excellence for Biomolecular Identification and Targeted Therapeutics has taken a pioneering role in partnering with local secondary schools and biotechnology industries to implement an Associate of Science in biotechnology program at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon.

As part of the partnership between HCC and FCoE-BITT to provide curriculum, recruitment and career awareness materials for community college and high school programs, HCC is offering the first biotechnology course in Spring 2010. “Introduction to Biotechnology (BSC 1420C)” is a gateway course that will provide students basic foundations of biotechnology, and the techniques used in research and industry environments. The course will be offered twice a week, Monday and Wednesday at 2 p.m., and will be taught by Elizabeth McCullough and Debarati Ghosh, instructors at HCC-Brandon.

Kim Wilson, project manager for FCoE-BITT says “The course integrates historical background, current concepts, and techniques in DNA and RNA technology and their role in cell and genetic disorders.” Students will demonstrate competency with various instrumentation, including pH meters, centrifuge, spectrophotometer, chromatography, and gel electrophoresis. “It will also assist students in understanding scientific methods, lab safety, and best laboratory practices” Wilson said.

The A.S. degree in biotechnology is based upon an assessment prepared by FCoE-BITT and the Biotechnology Advisory Committee, and is designed to meet the demands of a highly qualified workforce for the area's growing biotechnology industry. Graduates of the program will be able to pursue careers as entry-level technicians in the pharmaceutical, medical device manufacturing, research and development, and agriculture industries. This two-year program, comprising of 61 credits, gives students hands-on laboratory experience that prepares them for positions in the biotech industry.

For more information on the program, and or to enroll into the course contact Kim Wilson at 813.253.7845/wilson@fl-ate.org or visit http://www.fl-ate.org/projects/bitt.html.