Officials at Cecil College, based in North East, MD, say they will be offering a new degree program focused on bioprocessing. The Bioproduction Program is an associate of applied science degree.

The program can be completed in four semesters. Students are introduced to the requisite skills and knowledge that support transfer to a four-year program or start working in entry-level positions in the industry, according to Christine Warwick, assistant professor of biology and department chair.

“Pharmaceutical products are of great importance at this time due to the current pandemic crisis and the immediate need for treatments and vaccines on a global scale. Career opportunities in this field are available to community college graduates who wish to seek employment, but transfer to four-year institutions for advanced degrees is also available,” she said.

Students will learn about cell culture, protein production and analysis, microbiology, and biotechnology in the college’s laboratories and during their fourth-semester internship that is designed to immerse them in the field of bioproduction.

“Community Colleges have always been known to provide students with pathways to cutting edge academic and employment opportunities. Cecil’s Bioproduction degree is the perfect example of Cecil College’s ability to develop a course of study that allows a student to translate life science into a variety of in-demand careers,” added Cecil College President Mary Way Bolt, EdD.

Way explains that this degree program is the “stepping stone” to health and medicine careers, therapeutic proteins production, vaccine development and production, and biofuel production. Graduates are involved in preparing cell cultures for virus inoculation and viral seeds, and other laboratory procedures.

“Bioproduction is a hands-on program that allows students lab experience at Cecil and culminates in real-world experience in bioproduction during their last semester. Students working in the field will use living cells to produce protein products such as antibodies or enzymes. Environmental products such as biofuels as well as pharmaceutical agents including therapeutics and vaccines are manufactured using upstream and downstream biomanufacturing processes,” said Warwick, noting that the program is “especially attractive to anyone interested in STEM, specifically biology, cellular and molecular biology, microbiology, biotechnology, engineering, and chemistry.

For more information visit cecil.edu/stem, or contact Christine Warwick at cwarwick@cecil.edu.