Developing the next generation of life science innovators

Three Biology majors awoke early on Monday to travel down to the Pennsylvania Convention Center with Dr. Rebecca Roberts. The group presented at Life Sciences Future, the annual meeting of Life Sciences PA whose mission is to ensure that our state is a hub for the life sciences.

Ava Ecklin, Betsy Higgins, and Noël McCampbell were students in Roberts’ Innovation in Biology course in the spring. They went to share their experience in the course that is designed to help develop the next generation of life sciences innovators. Their poster went through a judging process and one judge commented “Love what you are doing, especially the local research and connections. I appreciated the student input.”

Dr. Roberts developed the course with the help of a Faculty Innovator Grant from the U-IMAGINE Center for Integrative and Entrepreneurial Studies. Innovation in Biology is a course that approaches biology through the lens of innovation – identification of problems and pathways to solutions.  Through the use of case studies, primary literature, and discussion students are introduced to historical and current innovations in biology. Students explore the relationships between innovative science, funding, ethics, intellectual property, biotechnology, and business. Guest speakers foster the class conversation and students interview CEO/CSO’s of local biotechnology companies as part of their final project in order to understand what goes into developing a successful biotech.