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Biotechnology

As a Biotechnology student, you play a vital role in one of the nation's fastest-growing industries.

Bioscience if Florida's future. South Florida's bioscience industry needs highly trained professionals for cutting-edge jobs, and our graduates are presuing exciting careers in industry and research. Jobs include laboratory technician, research assistant, quality assurance specialist and many other specialty positions in the life sciences.

 

Who can enroll in Biotechnology?

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)

What is a career in Biotechnology like? 

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.


What is Biotechnology?

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.


Is there a lot of science coursework required?

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.


Can I do an internship at Scripps Florida, Akron Biotech, or other research or industry facility?

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.


Who is a good candidate for the Biotechnology program?

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: A.A. + Biotech A.S (or A.A. + Biotech CCC, or A.A. + Biotech A.S. + 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 A.S. and A.A. 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.


Who is NOT a good candidate for the Biotechnology Program?

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 A.A. as their major.
c) Students declaring Biotechnology as their major just for financial aid or registration purposes. This negatively impacts program completion rates.


Can I transfer to a four-year university with the Biotech AS degree?

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 A.A. degree for transfer. You will graduate PBSC with TWO degrees (A.A. + A.S.), and will have the laboratory skills and 16-week internship experience that are an impressive addition to your university admissions application.


Where are the Biotechnology courses offered?

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).


Can I talk with someone about the Biotechnology program?

Yes! See your academic advisor or Department Chair (Dr. Alexandra Gorgevska, gorgevsa@palmbeachstate.edu or 561-207-5003, SC205), they are available to meet with prospective students and parents.


I am interested in declaring Biotech.  What are my next steps?

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 A.A. (since you must be degree seeking to get financial aid), then add the Biotech AS once you are accepted into the program.


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?

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.

 


Contact Information

Dr. Alexandra Gorgevska
Professor III, Department Chair of Biotechnology 
561-207-5003

LinkedIn Biotech Group Page

Advising Manual

Interview with Dr. Gorgevska

How the pandemic changed the job market

Read the article


 

Student Testimonials

Cynthia Jacques

Cynthia Jacques

"The Biotechnology Program at Palm Beach State College provided me with a well-educated staff and great opportunities. Also, the program helped me to acquire an awesome internship at Goodwin Biotechnology, under Garth Cole, as a Downstream Manufacturing Associate.  With my internship, I used every skill that was taught and have learned many more! This program not only taught me the basics such as pipetting skills and buffer preparations, but this program also taught me how to interpret scientific data and proper industry documentation. Aside from the science aspect, I have used networking skills and job etiquette from this program. I can say that without a doubt in my heart that the knowledge and skills that I have learned in the program will help me in accomplishing my goals as a pharmacist and that they will take me far in life."

Donna Simmonds

Donna Simmonds

"Biotechnology program has taught me the beauty of science. It gave me great opportunity to sharpen my skills in the medical and science fields and in doing so, I discovered the love for Molecular Biology. The program is versatile, opening doors of great opportunity for all. At my workplace I am required to perform most of the duties that I was trained to do in the program... The program prepared me to use the latest lab techniques, equipment, and instrumentation that is currently using in state-of-the-art laboratories around the world. It plays a pivotal role of introducing teamwork which is an essential characteristic in the workplace. Also, students get the opportunity to work independently, but also together to complete the assignments given before due dates. This program trained students to be assets and great fit for any workplace because it teaches competency, time management, teamwork, strength, and maturity to communicate with peers.  "   


Read more Student Testimonials

 

Photo of Dr. Alexandra Gorgevska

Dr. Alexandra Gorgevska
Science Professor III, Department Chair Biotechnology 

Dr. Gorgevska is the Department Chair for Biotechnology. She also served as the Department Chair for Natural Sciences at Palm Beach State College 2011 thru 2018 as well as the Director of the Biotechnology Program and STEM Outreach in 2018. In 2017, she served as the Interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the Palm Beach Gardens Campus, overseeing all Natural Sciences, Allied Health, Health Concepts and Nutrition, Paralegal Studies and Business & Entrepreneurship.  

She received her Bachelor's Degree in Biochemistry & Business Management from the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Department of Chemistry at Wayne State University specializing in DNA-protein cross-links. Her research involved the investigation and discovery of novel mechanisms and structures of formalin cross-link formation between DNA and proteins that form as a result of the fixation process during biopsy preservation. She has worked as a research technician in the Vascular Research Laboratory at William Beaumont Hospital and a research fellow at the University of Michigan-Department of Physiology studying peripheral vascular occlusive disorders. She was a post-doctoral research fellow at the National Institutes of Health in the National Institute on Aging, where she investigated the mechanisms of rare premature aging disorders, primarily that of Werner's Syndrome.

Dr. Gorgevska has and continues to be involved with the development and expansion of biotechnology curricula to meet the needs of the emerging bioscience community. In 2009, she was honored with the Distinguished New Faculty Award at the 20th International Conference on College Teaching and Learning. She was a research mentor with the U.S. Army eCybermission program. She also served as the Curriculum Development Manager for the Employ Florida Banner Center for Life Sciences at Palm Beach State College, which was a 3-year 1.2 million dollar grant-funded strategic plan to modernize Florida's workforce in order to meet the workforce needs of the state. Dr. Gorgevska was the Principal Investigator for a National Science Foundation Advanced Training Education (NSF-ATE) grant, a 2-year $200,000 funded project that helped to increase enrollment, retention and success of biotechnology students within the program and into their careers. She worked with the Quantum Foundation Science Path Institute, which was a 3-year grant initiative to provide professional development training and updated curriculum for high school science teachers. She helps represent the PBSC Biotechnology Program as part of the LSSF, Life Sciences South Florida consortium, including serving on the student research symposium planning committee. She worked with the PBSC Math & Science Institute for 10 years, which was a summer honors program for dual enrolled and PBSC students. She is currently involved with the PBSC STEM Collegiate High School program. She is also a chemistry instructor with the AAUW Tech Trek summer program for 8th grade girls. She strives to provide high quality instruction by recruiting well-qualified adjunct instructors from industry and research. She provides career mentorship to students in addition to seeking new, relevant curriculum to help train a well-qualified workforce.

Dr. Gorgevska Faculty Webpage


Photo of Dr. Mark Clementz

Dr. Mark Clementz
Science Professor I

Dr. Clementz is a professor of Biotechnology and Microbiology at Palm Beach State College. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship at The Scripps Research Institute in the laboratory of Susana Valente. He earned his B.S. in Biology from Benedictine University and Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Loyola University Chicago. In his predoctoral work, he studied antagonism of the innate immune system by SARS coronavirus. As a postdoc, he characterized host cell restriction factors of HIV replication as well as investigated the mode of action of an HIV Tat inhibitor along with generation and characterization of HIV mutant virus against this inhibitor.

Dr. Clementz Faculty Webpage


Photo of Dr. Kevin Ogden

Dr. Kevin Ogden 
Adjunct Biotechnology Professor

Dr. Kevin Ogden has over 15 years of biomedical and bioinformatics research experience. He earned his B.S. in Physiology from Michigan State University, during which time he conducted research in the lab of Dr. Stephanie Watts in the Pharmacology and Toxicology Department. He examined how altered serotonin signaling mechanisms in arteries contributes to hypertension. He then earned his Ph.D. in Molecular and Systems Pharmacology from Emory University. During his Ph.D. studies with Dr. Stephen Traynelis in the Department of Pharmacology at Emory University, he investigated cellular communication in the brain and how disruption of this communication can lead to diseases such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. He defined two new drug-binding sites on an important signaling molecule in the brain, the NMDA receptor. He was also part of an interdisciplinary team project comprising pharmacologists and medicinal chemists that led to discovery of the first subunit-selective NMDA receptor positive allosteric modulator. Dr. Ogden next joined Dr. Gavin Rumbuagh’s lab at Scripps Florida to study how altered function of genes commonly mutated in intellectual disability and epilepsy contribute to the disrupted neural activity associated with these disorders. After Scripps, he moved into the genomics industry as a senior computational biologist at Ocean Ridge Biosciences. He develops new bioinformatic pipelines and evaluates genomic algorithms to address complex problems in next generation sequencing data analysis such as discovering new variants from RNA sequencing and estimating differential transcript isoform usage. He also designs custom ad-hoc analysis approaches tailored to discover new biological trends and insights from RNA sequencing experiments.

Dr. Kevin Ogden Faculty Webpage


edison mejia

Edison Mejia
Biotechnology Lab Specialist

Edison Mejia has a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from the University of Antioquia- Colombia. His passion for science started 20 years ago while studying diagnosis, infection and epidemiology of Trypanosomiasis.

Edison later joined Stony Brook University in Long Island, NY where he worked for 12 years as a Research Specialist in the Molecular Genetic and Microbiology Department. During his time there, he worked with tissue culture and performed experiments with a chimera of Hepatitis C virus. He also conducted experiments on Yersinia bacterium and its interaction with eukaryotic cells. Edison then moved on to the Pharmacological Sciences Department where he participated in projects involving molecular cloning, protein expression and purification, structural and biochemical characterization of different mitochondrial proteins and X-Ray Crystallography.

Email Edison Mejia

BSC 2945C Biotech Internship Course Documents

Internship Checklist

Internship Flyer Example

Internship Flyer Template

Internship Program Agreement

Internship Project Scope - Example 1

Internship Project Scope - Example 2

Internship Student Evaluation

Internship Supervisor Evaluation

Internship Time Sheet Format - Example

 

Internship Opportunities

Industry

ADMA Biologics, Inc.

Akron Biotech

Algafeed

Alphazyme

AssureImmune

Avespa Holdings LLC

BioTools, Inc.

BlinkBio

Capzer Pharmaceuticals

CHS Pharma

CURNA - OPKO Health, Inc

Cytonics

Dyadic International

DNA Labs, International

GLG Pharma

Goodwin Biotechnology, Inc.

Horizon Pharma

Jupiter Environmental Laboratories

KRS Global Biotechnology

LST-HUB (Life Sciences Technology hub)

NIT Enterprises

Ocean Ridge Biosciences

Perkin-Elmer

Phacilitate Leaders World

R/S Tech Prob Solutions

SimplyHired

Somahlution

ThermoFisher Scientific

TransDermal Technologies

WaveFront Health Technologies

World Stem Cell Summit


Government

National Science Foundation

BIO

BioFlorida

Business Development Board of Palm Beach County

Enterprise Florida

Palm Beach County Life Sciences Companies

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office

South Florida Science Center and Aquarium

United States Department of Agriculture


Educational Institutions

Bio-Link

Florida Atlantic University

FAU Brain Institute

Harbour Branch Oceanographic Institution

LIfe Sciences South Florida

Max Planck Institute-Florida 

Nova Southeastern University

Pine Jog Environmental Education Center

Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute

Scripps Research Institute-Florida

Smithsonian Institute

Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies

University of Miami

University of Florida

Vaccine Gene Therapy Institute

 

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. Gorgevska. Rates and insurance requirements will be provided upon request.


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. Gorgevska. Rates and insurance requirements will be provided upon request.


Biotechnology 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. Alexandra Gorgevska or call 561-207-5003.

Palm Beach State College Biotechnology Equipment List


Core Biotechnology Laboratory - SC 214 (1,231 Sq Ft)

  • Mettler Toledo Analytical Balances (4)
  • Table-top balances (3)
  • 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 (5)
  • Hot Plate/Stirrer (5)
  • Vortexers / Personal Mini Centrifuges (12)
  • 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)

  • Mettler Toledo Analytical Balances (2)
  • NanoDrop Spectrophotometer (1)
  • Sartorius Industrial Grade Bioreactors - Bacterial and
  • Mammalian (2)
  • Laminar Flow Hoods (3)
  • Inverted Zeiss Microscopes (7)
  • Fluorescent Zeiss Microscopes (3)
  • Upright Zeiss Microscope (6)
  • Inverted Fisher Microscopes (2)
  • Moticam Microscope (1)
  • CO2 incubators (2)
  • Waterbath (2)
  • 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)
  • Sink (2)

Instrumentation Laboratory - SC 217 (844 Sq Ft)

  • Mettler Toledo Analytical Balances (2)
  • NanoDrop Spectrophotometer (2)
  • Bio-Rad Gel Documentation System (1)
  • Agilent 5975/6890 Gas Chromatography/Mass
  • Spectrophotometer
  • GE Fluid Phase Liquid Chromatography - AKTA Explorer
  • 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
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