< All Episodes
Achieve More with Athens Tech

Bioscience: the science behind solutions that improve life

Listen to the Episode

Show Notes

In this episode, we will find out the details of the Athens Tech Bioscience programs.

Achieve More with Athens Tech, the official podcast of Athens Technical College.

A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia. Equal Opportunity Institution.

Welcome to achieve more with Athens Tech, the official podcast of Athens Technical College. This is where you'll discover how the programs at Athens Tech can connect you with in-demand and high paying careers. Today, we're going to look at the Bioscience program at Athens Tech.00:00:21S2I started out as just a lab tech, and I am now a senior protein chemist. And I just worked my way up the ladder here just with the skills that I gained and the knowledge that I gained from Athens Tech.00:00:38S3So we hire Athens tech students. We've hired a number of students. We, you know, interested in these students because they're trained in the skills that I need to do, the jobs that my clients want us to do.00:00:53S2On my first day, I walked in the door in the lab. Director said, Here's this, this, this, and this kind of looked at her and I knew exactly what to do, how to use the micro pipettes. I knew how to do everything.00:01:05S1Bioscience technicians used the principles and theories of science and mathematics to assist in research and development and in the invention and improvement of products and processes, which sounds incredibly cool. But the real story here is jobs. Lots of jobs in a growing industry.00:01:23S4With the partnership that we have with HTC is more than just being a student and it's more than just finding a job. It's you know, if you look at our charter at Athens Research, we're creating leaders in our company. We're creating leaders that are also better leaders outside these four walls. We called leaders in the community. And we're also creating leaders that we're respected in the industry.00:01:48S1We're going to get to that. But first, let's find out some details of what the Bioscience program actually is.00:01:56S3I'm Geoff Rap. I'm the program chair for Bioscience Spirit Athens Technical College. And I've been here about, well, since 2005. So we train people, it's a two year program and we train people to work in a laboratory or in a beer manufacturing facility, but mostly learning laboratory techniques, how to work in the lab and be comfortable working with equipment and taking measurements and recording things in a lab notebook, an environment manufacturing facility. Students would need to know the documentation that a company, for example, regulated by the FDA would want their employees to have. So documentation is important for for the companies they they love all of that stuff following standard operating procedures and batch records and that sort of thing. But overall, we we teach people how to work in a laboratory.00:02:52S5I'm Michael Marmot, and I teach biology and chemistry, general chemistry and organic chemistry. In addition, I teach what is called regulatory compliance for bio manufacturing and quality assurance and validation of bio manufacturing and patents and technology transfer. Prior to coming to Athens Technical College, I worked at a biotechnology company and I got experience then in the bio manufacturing process and the development of the process.00:03:39S1So what are the classes in this program really like?00:03:42S3There is a lot of chemistry in the program that a lot of chemistry classes. Also, microbiology is important in biology. So those types of classes, it's good for students to have some kind of background in algebra. That's about the highest level of math we use in our program college algebra and then computer some knowledge of computers and how they work. Because a lot of times our equipment is controlled by computers and we also record data from lab experiments with computers. So some knowledge of computers, but but mostly it's chemistry and microbiology classes.00:04:24S1And there's a hands on aspect to the bio science program at Athens Tech to.00:04:29S5Say about 60%, 65% ends on experimental work and then 35% lectures. So so 65% laboratory or so the clean room work and then that 35% lectures.00:04:52S3Yeah, we, we like to emphasize the hands on aspect of the program. We want students to learn how to use the equipment and feel comfortable in the lab and the best way to do that. By using the actual equipment that is used in a laboratory. So we try to match up the equipment in our labs that students would encounter and counter when they went out for a job and got a job in the laboratory. So we try to match the the brand names and the exact equipment as much as possible. And it's really it really is an emphasis on the hands on training so that the students are operating the equipment, they're put in their own petri dishes, making their own media that's going to help grow microbes, things like that. So trying to do as much as possible themselves gives them that confidence.00:05:43S5That goes through the process, that working in the clean room that say everything under sterile conditions and which I found really interesting, and that could go around looking like spacemen, you know, with the gown on and it was the first step on a techie mat is step up, test match, eliminate debris from your shoes and then spraying your hands with sanitizer and then donning gloves and and then a gown and then and then mask and then putting on shoe covers and so on. Steps over from the clean part. Well, from the dirty part. What's called the dirty part of the clean room to the clean part. It's holes, you know, it's all worked out. Like everything to minimize any contamination.00:06:32S1The hands on learning experience will prepare you for working in a lab, and there are plenty of jobs to be found.00:06:39S4Hey, I'm John Mitchell. I'm CEO here at Athens Research and Technology. Athens Research Technologies, a 35 year old company that provides key proteins, human and animal proteins for our drug research disease diagnosis all over the world. And we provide our products to over 1800 customers in 28 different countries. So I've been at Athens research now for 15 months, and one of the things that we realized that we were growing and we were kind of like, you know, it's a post-COVID environment, labor was fine. And so what we created was we worked on creating what we call a talent pipeline, and we looked at ourselves and we looked at the surrounding educational institutions. A mile and a half away is Athens. And so what we started to do was engaged leadership, Dr. Rapp over there and his team to say, how can your bioscience program students coming out with to your degree how can they fit into our our world in protein chemistry?00:07:38S1That's right. There's a major bio manufacturer working with Athens Tech to make sure that the bio science program teaches you what you need to know to hit the ground running with a job. But that's not all.00:07:50S3My name is David Bloom, and I am the director of the Bio Express and Fermentation Facility. So we are a contract research organization within the university and we provide services to different customers. That could be a huge faculty, it could be a company that's a startup company at UGA or any any company or any university outside of the the UGA. So we hire Athens tech students. We've hired a number of students. We are interested in these students because they're trained in the skills I need to do the jobs that my clients want us to do in a college environment. You're learning a lot of theory, but not a lot of practice. And so at Athens Tech, they're getting more of the hands on skills that you need to work in industry. They teach them how to do tasks that we're required for our projects.00:08:55S4These tech schools do a great job of gearing education towards the local industry need. So what Dr. Rock had done in looking at life science organizations and biotechnology in this area, his program is really geared toward providing the foundation necessary for laboratory technicians. And so here they are. They've got this custom program that's really closely aligned to my knee, and then I'm participating with them, sharing them where we're growing, and they're going to adjust and fine tune their program to meet our future needs. So now I've got this collaborative process for this talent pipeline. They're not just, you know, fill out a form, we'll send you an intern. You know, they're trying to understand my needs and adjust how they recruit, how they teach, so that the students can be better prepared to meet my needs.00:09:43S1Did you hear that? Athens Tech will teach you the skills you need to know so that you can get a job and a career and be ahead of the game.00:09:51S4That's right. That's exactly right. And the nice thing is, with them being so close, their students can actually come and work here halftime and go to school and will accelerate their training. So when they actually graduate. They've got a job here and they're starting at level two, not level one, not entry level.00:10:07S1After you finish the bio science program at Athens Tech. What exactly is the job that you'll be doing? Let's talk to Christi and Rene.00:10:16S2My name is Christi Hanson. I graduated from Athens Tech in 1991 and I have been employed at Athens research and technology for 28 years. I am Rene Russell Moore. I work at Essence Research and Technology. I am approaching senior protein chemist. I graduated from Athens Tech in May of 1998, a very long time ago, and I started working here June 1st, 1998, at Athens Research and Technology, and I've been here ever since.00:10:57S1Side note did you notice that both of them have been in their careers for a very long time?00:11:03S2Athens, Turkey We learned a broad spectrum of things. We hit on lots of topics in the science industries, and my favorite part was always the biochemistry part and the organic chemistry part, and the skills that I learned there have helped carry me through and learn even more skills. That was like my basis, my foundation for the skills that I've learned over the years. Without that foundation and the hands on experience and knowledge that I gained at Athens Tech, I think it would have it would have not been quite as easy to use and to see the field that I'm in now. On my first day, June 1st, 1998, I walked in the door and my David lab director, Jinx Patel said, Here's this, this, this, go ask these fractions. And I just kind of looked at it and I knew exactly what to do. I didn't need I knew how to use the micro pipette, so I knew how to do everything. And I think what I like the best about it is that I, I mean, I hit the ground running and I've never really stopped. And I like that because this, you know, I learn something new every day, especially about the bioscience world and everything that's going on that's been going on since 2020. Just it's pretty interesting. But the the fact that I know that my products that I purify and everybody else is purifying is going to help people. They're either going to researchers or they're going to companies that are still under researchers or they're going into like a pharmaceutical type. So that kind of a company, so that they can be reworked and redone, so that, you know, to eventually end up helping the world. And it's pretty is pretty interesting when you've got publications of work that you've done and people they people see your publications and they order from you or, you know, buy our products because other researchers have actually been published for it. And it's just a pretty cool thing I like. But I do. I do like helping others and I feel like it makes a difference.00:13:32S1The bio science program at Athens Tech will provide you with the training to work in an in-demand career that, just like Rene said, helps people and helps the world. Rene, what are some of the details of your job?00:13:44S2So I take human plasma and I purify out lipoproteins, which are your cholesterol's LDL, HDL, the LDL, your good, your bad. You're really ugly. When you go and have your cholesterol tested, it's your yearly doctors exam. We have purified the standards that your your blood is compared to. That's 50% of my day the rest of my days giving out the components of those lipoproteins because there's more proteins that go into those to the lipids that you make up the lipids, that's pretty I mean, lots of centrifuge and just gels and people in bioscience know what I'm talking about. Then HRT and just lots of column chromatography during the day.00:14:45S1And what are the skills that you learned in Athens tech that you use every day?00:14:49S2Let's see. Chemistry, similarity, knowing chemical properties, knowing how reactions between chemicals work column chromatography that's a daily basis ion exchange. Joe Filtration. You know, when they're there I'm trying to think of all the ones affinity chromatography grating A2 eighties absorbance just that's running gel electrophoresis that's a major part of my day. And that was one of the favorite things that I do. We actually did ultra centrifuge work in. So when I started the Athens research and technology, I realized, Oh, I know how to use this machine and didn't realize that 24 years later I was still going to be running that machine every day. So but I love it and it's great. But yes, I mean, everything in the bio science program.00:15:45S5That the demand you have for for people to have qualified people is is definitely there. Yeah, undoubtedly. Yeah. We try, you know, it's coming it like that. You know, you'll you'll be able to just walk into a job like, you know, go through the program. It's required. And and that's a job. Jobs available for you.00:16:12S1Can you achieve more with the bio science program at Athens Tech? It's definitely worth looking into.00:16:18S5Some of it may look a little scary, that said, but chemistry and general chemistry. Organic chemistry. The whole purpose, the purpose of the program is then to is to train you then. And so don't get frightened about, you know, what, what's involved so that there are many students total feeling, you know, that same way, you know, very apprehensive and and uncertain. And then somehow that's really not that bad. You get into the mix that so you can get the hang of it and it's it's actually quite fun. And, and and then you could feel the satisfaction that you've accomplished something that you never thought you could do it and you get through it and you'll feel so much better for it.00:17:07S4The partnership that we have with HTC is is more than just being a student and it's more than just finding a job. It's you know, if you look at our charter at Athens Research, we're creating leaders in our company. We're creating leaders that are also better leaders outside these four walls. We called leaders in the community. And we're also creating leaders that we're respected in the industry. So come join with us and at. Be on this journey with this company that's growing and be part of this program that feeds right into our company. And start your career. Accelerate your career with us. I partner with Etsy and we're working through their two year degree bio sciences program and being our intern program and then just launch your career with us for the next 20 years. And I think that's what's missing today. I think these kids oftentimes have these brilliant minds, but not sure exactly how to apply it. With what we're doing with Dr. Rapp's program is we're partnering with the intellectual side and we're partnering with mastery on the skill set side and showing them that there's a career, that there's this progression of steps where you'll learn more than just the protein chemistry side, but you also learn the leadership side and the program, all those functional skills that are so important to growing leaders in our industry, in our company, and in our community.00:18:23S3So, I mean, having these well-trained staff members helps us complete the projects on time, under budget, and, you know, we get a higher success rate than if we we had, you know, workers that weren't trained in Athens tech.00:18:41S2Our company has really started growing. We have been in business for 36 years, and the internship program at Athens that we have with Athens Tech has really helped us to grow as far as personally. If I had not gone to Athens to work, I wouldn't be in this this field. But and I, you know, I think where would I be if I had not gone to Athens Tech? But it has helped me to be able to work in a field that I love and a field that has allowed me to grow professionally and intellectually and and even emotionally. I mean, it has helped me grow in all areas of my life and leadership and everything. Athens Tech was really a great starting point for my career.00:19:50S1Thanks for listening. To achieve more with Athens Tech, the official podcast of Athens Technical College. For more information on the Bioscience program, be sure to visit Athens Tech Dot Edu.00:20:08S4This podcast is a production of BG Ed Group. Darren Sutherland Executive Producer. Jeremy Powell, Creative Director, and Jacob Sutherland, Director Producers.00:20:17S3Jason Ginger Zola and Matt Golden and Kezia May, copywriter.00:20:21S4All rights reserved.