Gordon in the News: last updated 04/01/2014
Photo: Justin Topp, associate professor of biology, was instrumental in helping secure the grant for the Consortium.
“We want to be a top player in training the next generation of scientists and entrepreneurs, and we look forward to this strategic partnership."
—D. Michael Lindsay, President
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) have announced a $5 million capital grant for the Life Sciences Consortium of the North Shore—which consists of Gordon College, Endicott College, Salem State University, North Shore InnoVentures, and North Shore Community College. Of this $5 million, $1.35 million will go to Gordon College and will be distributed to departments within the Natural and Social Sciences Divisions.
The grant will fund major lab, facility and equipment upgrade projects at the member institutions and organizations. Through the MLSC, Massachusetts is investing $1 billion over 10 years to support the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, which was passed by the Massachusetts legislature and signed into law by Governor Patrick in 2008. “Thanks to our growth strategy of investing in education, innovation and infrastructure, Massachusetts is now the global leader in the life sciences,” said Governor Patrick. “Making investments that will modernize these institutions will help shape the future of this region by better preparing students for the workforce needs of a global economy.”
The Life Sciences Consortium of the North Shore (LSCNS) took root in 2012 to foster expansion and share resources within the life sciences north of Boston. This network of colleges, universities, nonprofits and early-stage companies, advanced training programs and teaching institutions, creates a pooling-resource infrastructure in which each member can focus on specific strengths—especially when it comes to the purchase of high-end/high-cost instrumentation.
"This grant helps validate Gordon's commitment to serious study of the sciences," says President Michael Lindsay. "Our Ken Olsen Science Center is a first-rate facility named for one of New England's pioneers in innovation. The new equipment funded through this generous grant will expand the capabilities of Gordon student-faculty collaboration on research and study in the life sciences. We want to be a top player in training the next generation of scientists and entrepreneurs, and we look forward to this strategic partnership."
Justin Topp (pictured above), associate professor of biology and co-creator of the mission and goals of the Consortium, knows that getting students involved in biotech innovation calls for access, opportunity and resources. Topp, who has collaborated with local biotech companies to create a Google map of E. coli protein expression, is the Gordon liaison for the Consortium, and describes the partnership as "horizon-expanding" for students on the North Shore. Students at the Consortium schools will benefit from increased opportunities for cross registering at other programs for advanced training in microscopy, proteomics, NextGen sequencing, high content screenings, and bioengineering. While students from other colleges will be attracted to Gordon’s resources in a wide range of science disciplines, including advanced microscopy and cell analytics instrumentation, cell culture and fluorescent microscopy suites, a small live animal facility, and a human anatomy teaching lab. Topp envisions the collaboration also will result in expanding internship opportunities, creating significant channels for students to experience and participate in the “day-to-day of the biotech environment.”
The economic impact is both wide and deep and includes helping create and fill high-quality life sciences jobs in Massachusetts; better preparing the workforce for those jobs; increasing accessibility to and enrollment in STEM majors; and affording early-stage life sciences companies access to bioinstrumentation through North Shore InnoVentures (a Beverly-based incubator), enhancing potential for growth and success.
“The life sciences sectors are now the fastest job producers in Massachusetts, so a key strategy of the Life Sciences Center is to use our capital dollars to ensure students all across the Commonwealth are prepared to compete successfully for these jobs,” says Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, president & CEO of the MLSC. “The schools in this consortium play major roles in training the next generation of our state’s life sciences workforce, and they ensure that training for innovation economy jobs is available and inclusive. With this kind of exposure and collaboration, students can go wherever their ideas lead."
Topp was an influential leader for the capital grant effort working in close partnership with Dean Gene Wong at nearby Endicott College. In addition to the 1.3 million Topp helped secure, the professor and researcher also recently secured an $18,000 grant from LiCOR Biosciences for the Natural Sciences Division at Gordon College.
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC)—an investment agency that supports life sciences innovation, research, development and commercialization—is charged with implementing a 10-year, $1-billion, state-funded investment initiative.
For more information, contact Angus McQuilken, vice president for communications and marketing (MLSC) at 617.921.7749 or Cyndi McMahon in the Office of College Communications at Gordon College at 978.867.4236. Information on the Life Science Consortium of the North Shore is also available online.