According to Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), modern biotechnology “provides breakthrough products and technologies to combat debilitating and rare diseases, reduce our environmental footprint, feed the hungry, use less and cleaner energy, and have safer, cleaner and more efficient industrial manufacturing processes.”
That’s currently more than 250 developed biotech health care products and vaccines available to patients, more than 18 million farmers worldwide using agricultural biotechnology, and more than 50 biorefineries working to produce alternative biofuels and chemicals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
And some developments like these are happening right in Assumption’s backyard.
According to Brookings, the Boston-Worcester-Lawrence area of Massachusetts was a pioneer in the biotechnology industry. Biogen and Genzyme, founded in Boston, were two of the nation’s first biotech firms, founded in 1978 and 1981 respectively.
Over a decade ago, Peter Gwynne and Guy Page, writing for Science Magazine, shared that biotechnology companies tend to cluster together as they occupy “comparatively expensive facilities, employ higher-end technical staff, and generate significant local income.”
And Massachusetts is a hub for research activity. $2.2 billion flowed into Massachusetts from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) this year, including $124 million to Worcester.
“Being in Worcester, home to a burgeoning biotech industry and one of the nation’s top teaching hospitals, students also have access to a multitude of internships and career opportunities,” said Associate Professor of Biology and Chemistry Kimberly Schandel, Ph.D.
At Assumption courses in biology, chemistry and physics as well as various science electives make up the biotechnology major.