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Biotechnology

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Degree Programs in Biotechnology

Palm Beach State College offers two degree programs in biotechnology. Students may choose to enroll in the Associate in Science (AS) degree, which prepares students for entry into the biotechnology workforce, academic research, and related industries; or a dual Associate in Arts (AA)/(AS) degree option, designed for pre-med and other students planning to transfer to a four-year university. Both the 61-credit AS and dual AA/AS programs require students to complete a 4-month Biotech internship outside of the College that provides training in real-world academic or industry research.

Our award winning program is taught by PhD level scientific faculty and researchers committed to providing challenging courses to meet the needs of the growing biotech industry.

Certificate Programs in Biotechnology

In addition to the AS degree, we offer a 19-credit College Credit Certificate (CCC) for students with a life science bachelor's degree who want to gain the lab skills and internship experience that employers expect.

We also offer a 30-credit Certificate for undergrads looking to stand out from the competition and add just a few Biotech courses to their AA degree plan. These certificates can boost a resume, job application, and applications to graduate or medical school.

Palm Beach State's biotech business partnership, consisting of over 25 different biotech firms, allows our students unique internship opportunities which develop the skills and experience required for a successful career in the biotechnology and biomedical fields.


Information Sessions & Events Calendar

Local job opportunities are growing in biomedical research, bioenergy and biosciences. At Palm Beach State College you can chart your career path in exciting STEM fields including:

  • Biomedical Research in fields of Cancer, Diabetes, Aging, and Neurologic and other diseases/disorders
  • Medical Devices, diagnostics, implants, prosthetics, and assay development
  • Marine Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Manufacturing / Protein Production
  • Forensic Science applications (DNA isolation, genotyping, blood typing, chemical analysis, instrumentation)
  • Stem Cells (cells with the potential to develop into multiple tissue types)
  • Genomics, Proteomics, Bioinformatics

Scheduled Information Sessions are listed below.  They are FREE but advanced registration is required.  To register or arrange for an individual tour call 561-207-5055 or email lesserb@palmbeachstate.edu

October 2017   
Biotech Oktoberfest Event Flyer Wed 10/11/17 1:00 pm SC127
Biotech Program Information Session   Register Mon 10/16/17 2:00 pm SC217
Biotech Program Information Session   Register
Mon 10/16/17 4:00 pm NS129  LW campus
November  2017    
Biotech Program Information Session  Register Fri 11/17/17 11:00 am NS138  LW campus
Biotech Program Information Session   Register Fri 11/17/17 2:00 pm SC217
December  2017    
Biotechnology Student Poster Symposium Mon 12/4/17 2:00 pm SC127
Biotech Program Information Session   Register Mon 12/18/17 11:00 am SC217
Biotech Program Information Session    Register Mon 12/18/17 2:00 pm NS129  LW campus


All events held at Palm Beach Gardens campus, unless otherwise noted.

Q. Who can enroll in Biotechnology?
A. Biotechnology is a CONTROLLED ACCESS program.  Students must meet the following criteria in order to apply for admission to the AS degree program:

  • Apply for admission to Palm Beach State College
  • Have a minimum 2.6 GPA
  • Turn in the signed Acknowledgement of Receipt of Biotech Program Advising Manual
  • Turn in the signed Acknowledgement of Biotech Program Requirements
  • Have passed the following courses with a grade of C or higher:

BSC1010   Principles of Biology 1 (3 credits)
BSC1010   Principles of Biology 1 Lab (1 credit)
CHM1045   General Chemistry 1 (3 credits)
CHM1045L General Chemistry 1 Lab (1 credit)
MAC1105   College Algebra (3 credits)
ENC1101   College Composition (3 credits)
BSC2421   Introduction to Biotechnology (3 credits)
BSC2421L  Introduction to Biotechnology Lab (2 credits)

Q. What is a career in Biotechnology like?
A. A career in Biotechnology is exciting, challenging, and varies from person to person and from lab to lab.  Some students will go to work in research labs using all kinds of scientific equipment such as plate-readers, centrifuges, thermal cyclers, pH meters, spectrophotometers, and microscopes.  Some work with animal or cellular models of human diseases like cancer, Parkinsons, or diabetes, or with robotics to run assays to discover new medicines.  Most biotechnicians have to record data into a lab notebook, be familiar with computer programs like Excel, and discuss their results with their supervisor and coworkers. Your career in biotechnology may also involve reading about new technologies and trends in science. In general, the Biotechnology A.S. degree is designed to train scientists to enter the biomedical, agricultural, environmental, marine, or biofuel industries.

Q. What is Biotechnology?
A. A core tenet of Biotechnology is understanding the structures and functions of DNA, RNA, and proteins, and learning about different methods to isolate and study these biomolecules. Biotechnology is an applied science that creates technologies based on biology (including microbiology and botany) and chemistry.  A goal of Biotechnology is to make products and discoveries that improve our lives, such as insulin, antibiotics, animal models of human disease, Genetically Modified Organisms, vaccines, stem cells, and diagnostic tests, as examples. Medical devices such as hemodialysis, cardiac pacemakers, prosthetic limbs with touch sensation, and hearing aids are also examples of biotechnology.

Q. What are the Program codes?
A. Biotechnology A.S (61 credits): 2158     Biotechnology CCC (19 credits): 6159

Q. Is there a lot of science coursework required?
A. YES! The Biotech A.S. degree requires two (2) semesters of General Chemistry with labs (CHM1045/L and CHM1046/L), plus two (2) semesters of Organic Chemistry with labs (CHM2210/L and CHM2211/L), plus Principles of Biology with lab (BSC1010/L), and Microbiology with lab (MCB2010/L), and 19 credits of core Biotechnology coursework. Biotechnology has a very heavy focus on science and laboratory training so that you are prepared for the scientific workforce. We also require College Algebra (MAC1105) and Statistics (STA2023), and additional coursework in humanities, social science, composition, as per General Education requirements.

Q. Can I do an internship at Scripps Florida, Akron Biotech, or other research or industry facility?
A. An internship is required for students pursuing the AS degree and the 19-credit certificate (an internship is not required for the 30-credit certificate). Qualified PBSC students who have completed all pre-reqs for the Biotech A.S. or CCC are required to enroll in the 2-credit BSC2945C, Biotechnology Internship course.  In this 16-week course you work a minimum of 20 hours per week at a laboratory or facility outside of the College, gaining real world experience in biotechnology. Students work with the program director and faculty to write a resume and cover letter to secure an internship that is a good fit for the student's abilities, career goals, and interests, and that matches the needs of the internship site.

Q. Who is a good candidate for the Biotechnology program?
A. Students should consider their career goals when selecting Biotechnology as a degree objective.  Biotechnology is NOT only Biology and Chemistry.  The Biotech A.S degree requires 61 credits, including 19-credits of Biotech coursework at the Gardens campus. Students who meet the following criteria are encouraged to consider Biotechnology as a major:

a) Students planning to graduate with the Biotechnology A.S. and/or CCC.
b) Students who want to earn multiple degrees: AA + Biotech A.S (or AA + Biotech CCC, or AA + Biotech AS + Biotech CCC).
c) Students who did well in Biology and Chemistry in high school.
d) Students who want to transfer to a 4-year university as a life science major (Biology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Chemistry, Pre-Med, Pre-Vet, Pre-Pharmacy) and who will pursue the AS and AA degrees.
e) Students who enjoy science and want to pursue a career in biomedical science/research, agricultural biotech, marine or ecological biotech, or medical device design and manufacturing.
f) Students who plan to complete the required 16-credits of Chemistry coursework (CHM1045/L, CHM1046/L, CHM2210/L, and CHM2211/L). Do not put off enrolling in chemistry as this delay usually leads to a later graduation.
Please schedule a meeting with the Biotech program director or your adviser for more info.

Q. Who is NOT a good candidate for the Biotechnology Program?
A. We encourage students to schedule a meeting with the program director or your adviser for more info before selecting your degree objective.  Biotech is not for everyone.  We have found that students who do not perform well in Biotech courses share some of the following issues:

a) Students who did not take (or did poorly in) Biology and Chemistry in high school.
b) Students who do not plan to complete the required 19-credits of Biotech coursework. Instead, these students should declare AA as their major.
c) Students declaring Biotechnology as their major just for financial aid or registration purposes. This negatively impacts program completion rates.

Q. Can I transfer to a four-year university with the Biotech AS degree?
A. Students earning the Biotech AS degree need only 20 added credits (ENC1102 (3 credits), SPC1017 (3 credits), 1 course Humanities (3credits , Area II), 1 course Social Sciences (3 credits, Area V), plus 8 credits of foreign language-can CLEP out of the language requirement) to also earn BOTH the AS degree AND the AA degree for transfer. You will graduate PBSC with TWO degrees (AA +AS), and will have the laboratory skills and 16-week internship experience that are an impressive addition to your university admissions application.

Q. Where are the Biotechnology courses offered?
A. The required Biotech lecture and lab core courses are offered ONLY at the Gardens campus. We do offer online and evening courses for student convenience.  Other required courses, such as General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, College Algebra, Statistics, Biology, and Microbiology can be taken at any campus (Lake Worth, Belle Glade, Boca Raton, Gardens).

Q. Do you have any upcoming information sessions?
A. Yes! Register online for an upcoming Biotechnology Info Sessions or find out more by calling (561) 207-5055.

Q. Can I talk with someone about the Biotechnology program?
A. Yes! See your academic advisor.  The Program Director (Dr. Becky Mercer (mercerb@palmbeachstate.edu or 561-207-5059, SC205), or Department Chair (Dr. Alexandra Gorgevska, gorgevsa@palmbeachstate.edu or 561-207-5003, SC209) are available to meet with prospective students and parents.

Q. I am interested in declaring Biotech.  What are my next steps?
A. We strongly recommend students first complete the program pre-reqs mentioned above starting with Principles of Biology 1 lecture and lab (BSC1010/ BSC1010L), General Chemistry 1 lecture and lab (CHM1045/ CHM1045L), and Introduction to Biotechnology lecture and lab (BSC2421/ BSC2421L).  If a student does well (A or B grade) in these courses it demonstrates preparedness for Biotechnology as a major. If you need financial aid to help pay for these classes, you can declare AA (since you must be degree seeking to get financial aid), then add the Biotech AS once you are accepted into the program.

Q. Introduction to Biotechnology (BSC2421/L) is a General Education science course, with NO PRE-REQs.  If this course is open to everyone, why all the focus on taking Biology, Chemistry and the other pre-reqs beforehand?
A. BSC2421 /BSC2421L is a 3-credit lecture + 2-credit lab.  It is a demanding course.  Although it is a GenEd science course, open to any student, we want to make sure that the student is prepared to succeed and complete the Biotech program and degree, and be prepared for the workforce. Thus, we require BSC1010/BSC1010L and CHM1045/CHM1045L and the other pre-reqs be taken first. Academic success in these courses will give you a good foundation for subsequent Biotech coursework.

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The 90,000-square foot, $15 million science and technology complex features two wings connected by a multi-media lecture hall and courtyard. The building encompasses state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories for the core science classes (biology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, physics and chemistry).

The second wing houses biotechnology, environmental science, and environmental horticulture classrooms and labs. A Wellness Center is also located in the complex. The new innovative center will lead in the training of future science-related professionals. These components are vital for the success of each student entering into the emerging science and biotechnology workforce in South Florida.

All laboratories and equipment located in the Bioscience and Technology Complex closely replicate the workplace environment. The scientific programs at Palm Beach State College not only teach scientific methods, but also promote hands-on training and a working knowledge of various instruments used in the biotechnology industry.

BioScience and Technology Complex opened for classes Spring 2008.

Interested in renting laboratory space for R&D or academic biotechnology startup activities? Early stage companies looking for space should complete the Incubator Form and return it to Dr. Mercer. Rates and insurance requirements will be provided upon request.

Lab

Equipment
Palm Beach State College's biotechnology program provides its students experience with equipment that is currently the highest industry standard, and mimics the biomedical research workplace.

StepOnePlus PCR Software
Available for use is the Applied Biosystems StepOnePlus gene expression analysis software located on 11 computers in the Media Lab on the 2nd floor of the Eissey campus library. The software enables students and external scientists to analyze quantitative Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR and PCR) experiments for gene expression, polymorphism, and genotyping assays outside the laboratory. View the features, capabilities, and research applications.

To use the software students should log on to the computer and:

  1. Click START button
  2. Click All Programs
  3. Click on folder for Applied Biosystems
  4. Click on StepOne

For more information, contact Dr. Becky A. Mercer at 561-207-5059 or Mercerb@palmbeachstate.edu

Palm Beach State College Biotechnology Equipment List


Teaching Laboratory - SC 214  (1,231 Sq Ft)
Bio-Rad Gel Documentation System (1)
Applied Biosystems StepOnePlus Real-Time PCR System (1)
New Brunwick Shaking Incubator (1)
pH meters (5)
Bio-Rad Thermal Cycler (2)
Edvotek Thermal Cycler EdvoCycler (1)
Bio-Rad Mini-Incubator (2)
NanoDrop Spectrophotometer (2)
Genesys 10 Series Spectrophotometer (3)
Hot Plate/Stirrer (5)
Vortexers / Personal Mini Centrifuges
Waterbath (2)
Dry-Heating Block (2)
Refrigerated microcentrifuges (2)
SafeAire II Chemical Fume Hood with Gas/Water/Vacuum (1)
Perkin Elmer 2300 EnSpire Plate Reader (1)
4C Thermo RevCo Deli Refrigerator (1)
-20C Thermo Revco Freezer (1)
-80C Thermo Ultima II Chest Freezer (1)
CL-1000 UV Crosslinker (Stratalinker) (1)
UV Light boxes (2)
Bacterial incubator / oven (2)
Sinks (3 main) (7 in-bench)


Tissue Culture Laboratory - SC 215  (627 Sq Ft)
Beckman-Coulter Cell Counter (1)
Sartorius Industrial Grade Bioreactors - Bacterial and Mammalian (2)
Laminar Flow Hoods (3)
Inverted Zeiss Microscopes (2)
Fluorescent Zeiss Microscopes (2)
Upright Zeiss Microscope (1)
Inverted Fisher Microscopes (2)
Moticam Microscope (1)
CO2 incubators (2)
Water Chiller (1)
ThermoElectron Mini Refrigerators (2)
Autoclave (1)
Life Tech Countess II Automated Cell Counter (1)
Liquid N2 Dewars (2)
SafeAire II Chemical Fume Hood with Water and Gas (1)
Matrix Wellmate Liquid Dispenser (1)
Barnstead Diamond NanoPure Water System (1)
Sink (1)

Instrumentation Laboratory - SC 217  (844 Sq Ft)
Agilent 5975/6890 Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrophotometer
GE Fluid Phase Liquid Chromatography - AKTA Explorer
LICOR DNA Sequencer with Microsatellite Package
Perkin-Elmer High Phase Liquid Chromatography Machine
Algae Photobioreactor
Thermo Electron Superspeed Refrigerated Centrifuge
Beckman-Coulter Allegra Refrigerated Centrifuge
Sorvall RC-6 PLUS Superspeed Refrigerated Centrifuge
Ice-O-Matic Ice Maker
20C Thermo Revco Freezer (1)
4C Thermo RevCo Deli Refrigerator (1)
4C Thermo RevCo Refrigerator
GeneSys UV Spectrophotometer (2)
White Light/ UV Transilluminator (1)
Speedvacs (2)
Sinks (2)
Sartorius BioSTAT A Plus Bioreactor

Contact Info

Dr. Becky A. Mercer, Director, Biotechnology and STEM Education
561-207-5059

Dr. Alexandra Gorgevska, Department Chair for Natural Science and Biotechnology
561-207-5003

     LinkedIn Biotech Group Page

 

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