Penn State has named and opened the Sartorius Cell Culture Facility where researchers will study the normal physiology and biochemistry of cells. Sartorius committed $1.5 million in January to launch the facility.

“This donation from Sartorius is a tremendous investment in biotechnology at Penn State and a huge step forward in our organizations’ partnership,” said Lora G. Weis, PhD, senior vice president for research at Penn State. “Across our university’s $1 billion research enterprise, few areas have as much potential for widespread impact as biotechnology. Sartorius is helping to ensure that Penn State remains a leader in this field, not just by conducting groundbreaking research but also in preparing our graduates to become leaders themselves.”

“We believe Penn State will make the most of this donation and partnership to inspire the next generation of pharma-biotech employees with innovative tools and solutions,” added Mary Lavin, president, Sartorius North America.

Sartorius’ donation expands the partnership with Penn State to support multidisciplinary teaching and research in biotechnology. In 2018, the company made a commitment to provide the university with advanced fermentation technologies and named the Sartorius Fermentation Gallery, a part of the CSL Behring Fermentation Facility, which supports educating future leaders in biotechnology through hands-on experiences for undergraduate and graduate students and corporate employees, and exposure to research across numerous fields, according to a Sartorius spokesperson.

The university’s Center of Excellence in Industrial Biotechnology provides a focal point for Penn State’s programs in the areas of biotechnology, and the Sartorius Cell Culture Facility adds an important new facet to the center, noted Andrew Read, PhD, director of the Huck Institutes of Life Sciences.

“The facility will enable cutting-edge advancements in biotechnology, including the development of diagnostic tests and treatments,” he said. “Our researchers have already generated a vast quantity of cells that have provided specific proteins for use in COVID-19 antibody research. In the new facility, we plan to expand that work and continue to play a key role in getting new solutions to market where they may directly influence patient care.

“Right now, there is a shortage of people who are qualified to do this work. Training students to operate the specialized equipment in the Sartorius Cell Culture Facility will give them a huge advantage as they enter the workforce, while making this expertise more widely available.”