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Wertheim College of Medicine researchers convene national biomanufacturing dialogue
Speaking to a packed room, Dean Juan Cendan of the Wertheim College of Medicine kicks off the Bold Goals for U.S Biotechnology& Biomanufacturing program in Washington, D.C., on June 8.

Wertheim College of Medicine researchers convene national biomanufacturing dialogue

June 26, 2023 at 11:23am

The Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and FIU's Center for Translational Science recently led a national dialogue focused on harnessing research and development to advance the biomanufacturing goals of the United States. The panel discussion took place on the heels of a report recently released by the Biden administration on that topic.

“I think it’s a remarkably incredible and exciting time. We are seeing investments on the science side, the R&D side; we see it coming from the Department of Commerce. We also see a broad bipartisan focus on advanced manufacturing,” said Kelvin Lee, director, National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals at the University of Delaware, a featured speaker.

Moderated by Stephen Black, associate dean of research at the Wertheim College of Medicine, the Bold Goals for U.S Biotechnology & Biomanufacturing program was held at FIU in Washington, D.C., on June 8 and featured biotechnology industry experts from both the public and private sectors.

In addition to Black and Lee, panelists included Nandini Arunkumar, program director in the Office of Strategic Development and Partnerships, Division of Neuroscience at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), and John Getz, director of Government Commercial Operations on the Cell Engineering Team at Ginkgo Bioworks.

This program coincided with a visit by a group of FIU students to participate in a three-day Humanities Edge D.C. Fly-In learning experience focused on careers in Washington.

Arunkumar focused on these future leaders in pointing out opportunities for new generations of researchers, particularly at institutions such as the NIA.

“There are a lot of programs within the NIA geared towards the next generation of researchers," he said. “We have programs for high schoolers, fellowships for higher education students, and even programs for science teachers. We need more young researchers to focus on aging research as the general population is getting older.” 

After the panel discussion, students had an opportunity to ask questions and inquire about future employment opportunities.

“I was able to see from up close how professionals in the biomanufacturing fields work with each other to get better results in their research,” said Angeliky Castrellon, a current FIU student who attended the event with other students as part of the Humanities Edge D.C. Fly-In.

Among its goals, the recent report points out how sustainable biomass from all around the United States can be used in biomanufacturing to create new goods as an alternative to petroleum-based production of chemicals, drugs, fuels, materials and other things.

Biotechnology and biomanufacturing industries are growing to create goods that will be everywhere in our lives, support climate and energy goals, increase food security and boost the economy across America, even though the most prominent applications being used today are those that are tied to human health.

FIU President Kenneth A. Jessell gave closing remarks followed by a networking reception with the FIU Foundation Board of Directors.

The full panel discussion can be viewed online at Bold Goals for U.S. Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing.

Photos from the event can be viewed here.

FIU in Washington, D.C.showcases the impact of FIU research; provides students with engaged academic experiences and internships; and convenes national partners for meaningful conversations across a broad range of issues as it brings the magic of Miami to the nation’s capital.