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University of Houston's Biotech Program gets state grant
Date:6/27/2011

Frank Thamma was taking classes at the University of Houston when a flyer touting biotechnology as a career prompted him to enroll in an introductory course.

"Taking this course quickly piqued my interest and I changed my major to biotechnology right away," Thamma said. "After enrolling in several courses, I realized how essential and fascinating biotechnology is."

That was several years ago. Today, Thamma puts his education to work at his months-old job with a local biotech company where he manages a number of projects that support medical and pharmaceutical organizations nationwide.

"The UH biotech program provided me with lab skills that I use every day at work and the practical knowledge I needed to understand important scientific concepts," said Thamma, a 2010 graduate.

"The program really prepared me in terms of acquiring advanced lab techniques used today and the knowledge needed for understanding the foundation of biotechnology," he said.

The Texas Workforce Commission seems to agree with Thamma's endorsement of UH's Center for Life Sciences Technology (CLiST), which is part of the College of Technology. The commission, a consistent and significant supporter of the center since it was established in 2006, recently awarded additional grant money to CLiST totaling nearly $300,000.

The grant money will be used to continue and expand the center's mission of offering an innovative interdisciplinary research-based education, extensive outreach and highly skilled professional training to aspiring biotech professionals as well as those in the industry who are seeking to refresh their skills or gain new ones.

"It's rewarding to get this additional funding. It validates what we're trying to do here," said Rupa Iyer, as associate professor and the center's director. "We want to be a biotech incubator for the industry in Texas. We are working to align our mission with Texas' mission so we became a major leader here in the biote
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Contact: Laura Tolley
ljtolley@uh.edu
713-743-0778
University of Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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