Biotechnology Symposium
April 7th 2017

Wednesday April 7th the biotechnology students of Falcon Biomanufacturing, at Bertie Early College High School (BECHS), presented posters on their ongoing efforts to establish a start-up biotech company.  The 12 students (pictured on the right) and their classmates are building on the efforts of previous students and developing the methodology to express recombinant proteins in their high school biotechnology laboratory.   These proteins will be used in research at NC State and beyond.

This year's students focused on optimizing the bacterial growth conditions to ensure the most efficient and timely production of protein.  In addition to these process development efforts, they also worked to develop the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the most essential methods involved in protein production.  These SOPs will help ensure Falcon Biomanufacturing will be able to consistently produce high quality products.

Each of the BECHS biotechnology students selected a different aspect of the protein production process to highlight for their presentation.  These range from the importance of aseptic technique, bacterial enumeration, bacterial growth conditions, the use of antibiotic selection markers, expression plasmids, electrophoresis, protein quantification, as well as the biology of their first protein, turkey interleukin-8.

Click on the posters in the slide show to see an up close look of their work, or on the videos to see them talk about their topic.

The students, faculty and staff of BECHS would like to thank all who attended this year's Biotechnology Symposium.  As in previous years, the symposium was well attended and we appreciate everyone's time and commitment to these great students.  In addition to the teachers, staff, students and parents from BECHS; the students of Falcon Biomanufacturing presented their work to students, scientists, educators, and business leaders from across the state, and beyond.

The BECHS biotechnology students did an excellent job presenting their work, representing their school and their company.  Following their presentations, the students enjoyed lunch with their guests and a discussion about STEM careers led by Dr. Muquarrab Qureshi, Deputy Director for the Institute of Youth, Family, and Community, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture.  Dr. Qureshi talked to the students about the vital role agriculture plays in all of our lives.  How we all literally depend on it every day for our food, fiber, and fuel; but every year there are approximately 25,000 more STEM based jobs in the agricultural economy than there are graduates to fill them.  These are high skilled jobs, and that require bright innovative and passionate young talent.  Just like the students of Falcon Biomanufacturing. 

The students also got the benefit of comments, congratulations, and advice from some of the other guests and attendees.  Rob Boyce and Larry Dunley from NC Works, Lisa Hibler and Elanie Franklin from the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership, Joe Kronner from MUST-Innov8, Inc, and Matthew Warren from North Carolina State University.

To all those who attended, assisted, and/or participated in the 5th BECHS Biotechnology Symposium, your involvement helped make this event a great success.  We look forward to seeing you all next year.