New Biotech Center at UH

The greater Houston area has the challenge of developing a work force for the biotechnology industry. The University of Houston hopes the newly created Center for Life Sciences Technology will meet that need and help lead to a strong industry in the area. Houston Public Radio's Capella Tucker reports.

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The state has identified bio-technology has one of the top six growth industries for Texas. UH Technology College Research Associate Professor Christopher Baca says the state has strong research and venture capital potential.

"The third factor is a strong and competitive workforce and out academic institutions are doing a wonderful job educating people but the employers are expressing a need for a trained workforce at the predominately baccelaureate level. And so we're trying to build those bridges for this industry."

Without the workforce, Baca says Texas won't be competitive. Biotechnology is used in everything from medicine to argiculture. UH Research Associate Professor Rupa Iyer says part of the Center's mission will be to reach out to community colleges and high schools to create a kind of pipeline.

"Biotech means a lot of things to a lot of people. You are interfacing many disciplines in biology in computers and we need to train our students to analyse how these disciplines meet together."

The Center is starting with a state grant and funding from the University of Houston as well as the UT Health Science Center at Houston. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

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