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Penn State Biotech Community Fights the Covid-19 Challenges

The Center of Excellence in Industrial Biotechnology was one of many Penn State units adapted to the pandemic’s problems (CoEIB). Before COVID-19, the CoEIB worked with the CSL Behring Fermentation Facility and the Society for Industrial Biotechnology to develop a skilled workforce (SIB). Undergraduate students were granted scholarships, seed grants, and internships by the CoEIB, striving for excellence in research and dissemination.

The CoEIB pushed forward for the next 450 days, continuing to house and build Penn State industrial biotechnology community. As a result, Sartorius Stedim Biotech, a major international biopharmaceutical partner, gave $1.5 million to on Jan. 21, establishing the Sartorius Cell Culture Facility and expanding Penn State biotechnology environment.

After Yuguo Lei, an associate professor of biomedical engineering, was named faculty director and Randall Rossi was named head of the Sartorius Cell Culture Facility, development on the new area in Chandlee Laboratory accelerated. Over 300 virtual spectators representing Sartorius, Penn State, and biotechnology companies gathered in early April to witness the facility’s naming.

The CoEIB converted Penn State long history of in-person fermentation and downstream workshops to an entirely virtual experience to maintain its outreach objective. Over 150 professionals from 3M, AbbVie, AstraZeneca, CSL Behring, Merck & Co., Pall Corporation, Pfizer, and Scientific Bioprocessing attended because of the program’s unique scheduling approach, which included concentrated sessions over several weeks.James Bucky Polk, the chief commercial officer of scientific bioprocessing, said, “We enrolled eight employees to supplement their cell culture knowledge and walked away with a team prepared to identify solutions that are customers are looking for in bioprocessing.”

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