Tag: dna analyzer

Biotech Pow-wow

by gwilson on Sep.05, 2009, under A Day in the Life...

bimsflyergraphicLast Thursday I met with the provost from Cisco College’s local campus, Richard Burdine from the Development Corporation of Abilene, and Jon Weidanz from TTU School of Pharmacy and the biotech firm Receptor Logic to discuss the new biotech certificate program recently approved for Cisco College.  Our goal was to see how our individual entities could cooperate to help build a biotech workforce in Abilene sufficient to support the growing biotech industry here.  Topics discussed were equipment needs and labspace for the new program, an articulation agreement between Cisco’s biotech certificate and McMurry’s biomedical science program, internship possibilities in town, and a general update on the infrastructure being developed for recruiting additional biotech companies. 

So what was the outcome?  I promised to take a quick inventory of unusued equipment at McMurry and see if we had some items that might be useful to them.  For instance, I know we have a sequencing gel that is no longer needed because of our Li-COR DNA sequencer, and I know we have a biological safety cabinet that is no longer needed downstairs and appears to be unneeded upstairs either.  There may be other items here and there we can add in from their list.  Secondly, I’m in conversation with our faculty about how the Cisco courses fit with our offerings to develop an articulation agreement that will give Cisco’s certified biotech graduates a head-start on a four-year degree at McMurry.  And, we’ve continued to solidify the BIMS program as the premiere program for producing bachelors’ prepared biotech employees.

Another meeting is set for next month – I’ll give a further update then.

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Summer Course Update

by gwilson on Jul.14, 2009, under A Day in the Life...

arm microscopeHere are some things that are happening in the BIMS program this summer.

1.  BIMS 1300.  Introduction to Scientific Research is the first BIMS course taken by freshmen.  It is an introduction to thinking about science in a different way – science as a process to engage in, not a bunch of facts to memorize.  Dr. Tom Benoit is busy this summer adjusting its approach based on last year’s initial version to make it even more successful.  The seminar portion will be completely re-done to expose students to what’s new in biomedical sciences around the world.

2. BIOL 1301.  Unicellular Organisms is Dr. Benoit’s other course this fall.  The course is so unique that finding an appropriate textbook is difficult.  Expect the course to adjust its approach slightly to focus more on how cells work in order to emphasize what’s common to unicellular organisms, rather than on differences between various species.

3.  BIOL 3410.  Dr. Wilson is completely re-doing Microbiology this summer.  The lecture will be aligned more closely with the textbook to help students study for exams, and the lab will feature 4-5 research projects within which all skills and knowledge for the lab portion of the course will be taught.  Two projects will be a survey of fresh foods for the presence of coliforms and a survey of McMurry students for the presence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

4.  BIOL 3460.  Genetics will jump into high gear this year as Dr. Heidi DiFrancesca begins to orient students to the use of molecular biology technology at our disposal.  Expect use of the DNA sequencer and rt-PCR in the lab.

5. BIMS 4320 and BIMS 4250.  Junior and senior level BIMS courses will benefit from new equipment to support student research projects, and from a year of maturity in the program.  Dr. D had students get the lab going last year and took baby steps in bringing it up to full capacity.  This year we’ll hit the ground running. 

6.  BIMS 4201.  The capstone course has been restructured to allow students to sign up with a BIMS faculty member to work on a project in their area of expertise.  We can expect a wider variety of research projects this year as students join the research in their areas of interest.  Cancer research, genetic engineering, bacterial spore physiology, and public health should all be represented by the end of the year.

The BIMS faculty will hold a retreat this summer to focus and connect our efforts.  More updates will be coming on other aspects of BIMS improvements made this summer.

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