BUFFALO, N.Y. – Biotech career opportunities in Western
New York will be on the agenda April 7 when 16 University at
Buffalo students visit the biotechnology company Thermo Fisher
Scientific in Grand Island.
The tour is part of the one-credit UB course, MedTech 445,
Biotechnology Career Preparation, which is mandatory for
Good visuals. Best time for media to attend is 1:30 p.m. For
press arrangements and directions, contact Ellen Goldbaum at
716-645-4605 and 716-771-9255 on-site.
“The purpose of the tours is to introduce students to the
broad range of career choices that await them when they
graduate,” says Kate Rittenhouse-Olson, PhD, director of the
biotechnology undergraduate program in the UB School of Medicine
and Biomedical Sciences.
“The students really enjoy seeing all the
possibilities,” she says.
Thermo Fisher Scientific is a $17 billion company with 50,000
employees worldwide. Students from the UB program have been hired
by the company as interns and subsequently, as full-time employees.
Several are currently on staff at the company.
At Thermo Fisher’s Grand Island facility, staffers working
in areas ranging from manufacturing and sales to research and
development and regulatory affairs will talk to the students about
career paths and opportunities in biotech.
“We try to give the students an appreciation for the
multiple career paths that are available to them,” says
Stephen F. Gorfien, PhD, senior director of BioProduction Research
& Development at Thermo Fisher. “We talk to the students
about important parts of the workflow. Not all careers in biotech
involve laboratory work.”
Students will tour Thermo Fisher’s manufacturing and
research and development facilities.
The event is part of a spring ritual that Kate
Rittenhouse-Olson, UB professor of biotechnical and clinical
laboratory sciences, has been conducting for 11 years.
Her goal is to demonstrate to students just how broad the
opportunities are for undergraduates studying biotechnology in the
UB Department of Clinical and Laboratory Sciences.
“The students will learn about all the options from
research and development and quality control and assurance to
regulatory affairs, marketing, patent development and even
sales,” she says.
Each spring, the UB students visit up to nine different
organizations, from Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Hauptman
Woodward Medical Research Institute to local companies, like Thermo
Fisher and Zeptometrix, as well as government agencies, such as the
Buffalo Police Lab. Attendance on the tours is mandatory.
“These organizations are very pro-Buffalo. They’re
very good mentors to help the young professionals entering the
workforce and they’ve always been very supportive of our
program and UB,” Rittenhouse-Olson says.
In 2013, nearly half of UB’s biotech graduates who
responded to a survey were working in a related field, while the
rest of the grads were attending graduate or professional