Houston has a reputation as a leader in gas, petrochemical, aerospace, health, medicine, and research and development. Now it is opening new doors to the burgeoning fields of biotechnology and biopharma.
San Jacinto College is the exclusive provider of National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) programs in the southern part of the United States. NIBRT is a global center of excellence for training and research in biopharmaceutical manufacturing.
“Houston already has a number of biomanufacturing companies, and many will eventually relocate here, so the region is primed and ready for growth in this industry,” said Dr. Christopher Wild, dean of health and natural sciences and executive director of biotechnology.
“It’s important to both meet the current workforce needs and train the anticipated future workforce,” Wild said. “Regional biomanufacturing companies will be able to look to us to deliver this specialized training.”
The College will offer an Associate of Applied Science degree in biomanufacturing technician, a Level 1 certificate, and an advanced skills certificate. This area of study will resonate with many, specifically biology majors.
For example, biomanufacturing technicians will participate in manufacturing human therapeutics that are generated from biological systems. Graduates could pursue positions in cutting-edge medicine like vaccine manufacturing and cell and gene therapies.
Students will learn theoretical concepts to better understand the scope and purpose of the work, but the focus will be on the technical study of manufacturing human therapeutics, as in the hands- on aspect. Although the program will cover a broad spectrum, it will not be math and science heavy.
The biomanufacturing program began at the South Campus in January of 2024. San Jacinto College will open The Center for Biotechnology, on the Generation Park Campus in early 2025.
“This program and the Center will give students the opportunity to explore this emerging field and learn the foundational elements of biomanufacturing and biopharma. We will also help current employees in that field who are looking to upscale,” said Dr. Destry Dokes, Generation Park Campus provost.
Creating a robust training program empowers the College to attract future biomanufacturing companies to the Houston area, creating more job opportunities.
Check out more stories from the Chancellor’s Report to the Community.