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Mark Nardone is the director and co-founder of Bio-Trac®. In partnership with Montgomery College, it offers graduate-/postgraduate-level hands-on training workshops for research scientists at the College’s Bioscience Education Center, a state-of-the-art facility on the Germantown Campus.

By Mark Nardone

Bio-Trac® and MC offer training workshops to professional scientists to stay current

You’re a research scientist 10 years removed from graduate school and you have completed your M.D. or Ph.D. training. Now you’re in a quandary. The skill sets you learned are now outdated—or even obsolete. You work in an environment that is perpetually evolving, with new technologies and methodologies. How do you stay current?

One option is to do what more than 17,500 research scientists have elected: take a Bio-Trac® training workshop. For the past 37 years, Bio-Trac® has served the scientific community by offering hands-on training workshops designed for research scientists. Bio-Trac® focuses on providing emerging methods and technologies necessary to the biotech workforce. In the past seven years, the company has provided training to more than 500 research scientists on CRISPR Cas9, the gene-editing tool developed by two 2020 Nobel laureates (Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Dr. Jennifer A. Doudna). With its ever-evolving applications, this tool is considered a staple of the gene-editing community.

Bio-Trac® started 37 years ago at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), evolving out of a series of one-off workshops given by Dr. Roland M. Nardone, a professor and director of the Center for Advanced Training in Cell and Molecular Biology at Catholic University. After 30 years at NIH, the program moved to the Montgomery College Bioscience Education Center, a state-of-the-art training facility.

The program aligns perfectly with the goals of the MC’s Biotechnology Department, providing top-rate quality education at all levels, from dual enrollment high school programs; A.A.S. and certificate programs in biotechnology and biomanufacturing to training for incumbent workers (BioTrain) and M.D.-/Ph.D.-level training for research scientists (Bio-Trac®)

The move provided additional flexibility and resources to expand the training program and create and support other worthwhile initiatives (custom-designed workshops, research symposiums, BioPanels, the Maryland Science Olympiad, Bio-Trac® Webinar Series). The program aligns perfectly with the goals of the MC’s Biotechnology Department, providing top-rate quality education at all levels, from dual enrollment high school programs; A.A.S. and certificate programs in biotechnology and biomanufacturing to training for incumbent workers (BioTrain) and M.D.-/Ph.D.-level training for research scientists (Bio-Trac®).

Though remote for now, the trainings usually take place at the College’s Bioscience Education Center, a state-of-the-art facility on the Germantown Campus.

While BioTrac® effectively transitioned their offerings (approximately 25 per year) to live remote instruction with lecture and laboratory demonstrations, the company looks forward to resuming in-person events. A cohort of attendees interested in a specific topic, with varying experience levels, working in different research areas (cardio, diabetes, iPCS, neuro, etc.), sharing ideas, and problem solving exudes an energy from all participants. It is a definitive value-added situation in which collaborations develop. Going into an environment fully immersed in the methodology, learning it in a reproducible fashion from an active researcher, and applying it towards research in a short time, is a tremendous value. The end result is increased efficiency, reproducibility, and productivity.

Visit the MC website to learn more.

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