Published April 4, 2024 | Version v1
Journal article Open

Flow Cytometry - A Specialized Analytical Skill for the Cell and Gene Therapy Industry

  • 1. Program Manager, Career & Technical Training, Workforce Development, Frederick Community College, Frederick, MD
  • 2. Adjunct Faculty, Biotechnology, Frederick Community College, Frederick MD
  • 3. Assistant Professor, Program Manager Biotechnology, Frederick Community College, Frederick, MD

Description

Cell and gene therapy is one of the fastest-growing fields in the biopharmaceutical industry, and Maryland is witnessing the impact of this growth first-hand. Flow cytometry, a crucial analytical tool for ensuring the quality and purity of cell and gene therapy products, has become a highly sought-after skill. However, access to flow cytometry training is often limited and expensive. Recognizing this gap, Frederick Community College (FCC) has developed an innovative Cell Therapy and Flow Cytometry course, validated by industry, to make this training accessible and affordable to local students, particularly those from underserved communities. This specialized training in cell culture and flow cytometry offers students a competitive edge in the regional job market. Integrated into various program pathways, such as the new Cell and Gene Therapy Certificate, Letter of Recognition (LOR) for Cell Therapy, digital badges, and non-credit options. Flow cytometry training caters to a diverse range of learners, including traditional degree-seeking students and incumbent workers seeking to enhance their skills. In the successful pilot run during Spring 2023, the FCC Cell Therapy and Flow Cytometry course attracted ten students from the Biotechnology Associates program and six others eager to acquire new technical skills. This initiative aims to enable employers to recruit highly qualified and diverse candidates from the local talent pool, thereby supporting the biotechnology workforce in the region. FCC anticipates that this Cell Therapy and Flow Cytometry Workforce Project will serve as a model to enable other community college biotechnology programs to meet similar workforce demands as the cell therapy industry continues to expand across the country.

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Additional details

Funding

Building the Cell Therapy and Flow Cytometry Workforce 2201621
National Science Foundation