Palm Beach State College’s biotechnology students will gain access to the same laboratory equipment used in the industry thanks to a $50,000 donation from Alphazyme, an enzyme development and production company based in Jupiter. A subsidiary of Maravai LifeSciences, Alphazyme is a member of the college’s Biotechnology Business Partnership Council and employs graduates of PBSC’s associate in science degree and certificate programs in biotechnology.
“Palm Beach State College was chosen to receive the Maravai LifeSciences Foundation gift due to its biotechnology program’s dedication to advancing scientific education,” said Chad Decker, Alphazyme’s vice president and general manager. “We are proud that Alphazyme’s first two employees were PBSC alumni, with an additional alumnus joining in 2022. As we continue to grow our company and the biotechnology industry in South Florida, it is very important to Alphazyme to maintain a close relationship with our local colleges and universities, and we look forward to our continued relationship with PBSC.”
PBSC will use the gift to purchase two new significant instruments for the biotechnology laboratory on its Palm Beach Gardens campus. The new equipment helps ensure that the biotechnology programs provide relevant, cutting-edge curricula to prepare students for the workforce.
“We are grateful for Alphazyme’s generous donation to keep our lab up to date with instruments currently used by the industry,” said Dr. Alexandra Gorgevska, chair of PBSC’s Biotechnology Department. “The ability to learn and use this state-of-the-art equipment will give our students a distinct advantage when launching their careers. In fact, Alphazyme is purchasing one of these instruments for themselves, so it is perfect timing for us to train students on the same equipment they’ll encounter in their internships with Alphazyme and other business partners.”
The instruments to be purchased are a High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) instrument that separates molecules in a mixture/solution for use in research and industry, including the pharmaceutical industry, food science and drug testing, and a Fast Protein Liquid Chromatography (FPLC) instrument used in the pharmaceutical industry and for medical research to separate, analyze and purify proteins in a mixture/solution.
PBSC students may enroll in the biotechnology degree or tailor their degree to include biotechnology courses. Two college credit certificate programs — Biotechnology and Biotechnology Laboratory Specialist — give options for those who want a faster route to employment or already have a degree but need industry skills.
In these programs, students learn the use of biology and chemistry to develop technologies and products that improve lives and drive innovation in many fields, including pharmaceuticals, biomanufacturing, biomedical and vaccine research, medical device development, disease diagnostics, crop improvement, biofuels and crime scene forensics.
Taught by Ph.D.-credentialed faculty, students gain hands-on laboratory skills in recombinant DNA technology, proteomics, tissue culture, instrumentation and quality assurance/control — all in high demand by South Florida’s bioscience industry. Students also participate in industry research projects, visit local biotech companies and network with professionals. This practical, industry-driven approach prepares them for careers and further education.