Graduate training in cellular engineering at UMass Amherst: The Institute for Cellular Engineering (ICE) IGERT program

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2009 IEEE 35th Annual Northeast Bioengineering Conference, ISSN: 1071-121X, Page: 1-2

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Shana D. Passonno; Surita R. Bhatia; Susan C. Roberts
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Chemical Engineering
conference paper description
The University of Massachusetts Amherst Institute for Cellular Engineering (ICE) has developed a novel interdisciplinary graduate training program in cellular engineering, the NSF-funded ICE IGERT program. Engineering cellular form and function is the basis for many ventures in the biomedical and biotechnology industries in Massachusetts and across the U.S., including design of bioremediation processes for contaminated site cleanup, generation of artificial organs and tissues, and production of biologic pharmaceuticals. Students focus in one of three interrelated cellular engineering thrust areas: 1) Applied Systems Biology, 2) Cell Delivery and 3) Protein Engineering. Key features of the program include a unifying course to train both life scientists and engineers/physical scientists in the fundamentals of cellular engineering, hands-on laboratory modules on state-of-the-art techniques, a weekly research seminar series with mentoring component, and formal professional development activities including team-building and ethics. This IGERT is unique in that the leadership is all-female and the faculty participants are 45% female and 15% non-white, and we recruit diverse students through collaboration with the Northeast Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (NEAGEP) program. The primary outcome of this novel training program is establishment of a well-trained diverse workforce in state-of-the art technologies that is poised to be leaders in cellular engineering both in academia and industry.