FIRST UH BIOTECHNOLOGY COURSE OFFERED
New Class to Offer Insight on Industry Regulations,
Feature Field Professionals as Guest Lecturers
HOUSTON, July 6, 2007 – Whether it’s producing new
drugs or enhancing agriculture, biotechnology is an industry on
the rise. The University of Houston already is developing a degree
program to groom professionals in this emergent field. This fall,
it will offer its first course focused entirely on biotechnology.
Biotechnology Regulatory Environment (BTEC 2320) is the first
course developed by the UH College of Technology’s Center
for Life Sciences Technology (CLiST).
“As we strive to fulfill our commitment to UH, the community
and the state of Texas, the College of Technology is very pleased
to see this milestone course on its fall schedule,” said William
Fitzgibbon, dean of the College of Technology.
The course will examine the role of governmental oversight and
regulation during the discovery, development and manufacture of
new products produced by biotechnology. It also will follow the
history and evolution of drug regulations.
“The biotechnology and life sciences research industry cluster
is one of the most heavily regulated industries in existence,”
said Chris Baca, executive director of CLiST. “Ideally, all
employees of the industry should be familiar with the regulatory
restraint on their company and operations.”
Biotechnology Regulatory Environment is a hybrid course that combines
classroom lectures with Internet-based coursework. Rupa Iyer, director
of biotechnology programs at UH and research associate professor,
designed the course and will teach it. Assisting with classroom
discussions will be industry professionals from Houston-based biotechnology
companies Introgen Therapeutics, Encysive Pharmaceuticals and Agennix.
“Industry experts will bring real-world experience to the
classroom, and students will be able to connect the relevance of
what they are learning in the class to its applications in the biotech
industry,” Iyer said. “Many biotechnology professionals
have indicated that college graduates aren’t familiar with
issues such as quality control and regulatory affairs. This course
will familiarize students with the agencies that regulate biotech
products, namely the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental
In 2006, the Texas Workforce Commission provided CLiST with a $1
million grant to aid its development of an interdisciplinary bachelor
of science degree in biotechnology, short-term training programs
aimed at industry professionals and advanced degree training for
teachers. Recently, the National Science Foundation awarded $121,800
to CLiST for the development of two undergraduate biotechnology
lab classes that are being developed by Iyer in collaboration with
Melinda Wales, Texas A&M associate research scientist and chief
scientific officer of Reactive Services, an Austin-based biotechnology
In addition to the development of curriculum for this pending degree
plan, CLiST also has begun assembling a consortium of higher education
institutions and private sector enterprises to address biotechnology
education and training requirements. It also developed the Web portal
www.TexasBioTech.org to disseminate industry information. These
efforts were aided by a $372,000 grant from the Office of the Governor
and additional funding from UH and the University of Texas Health
Science Center at Houston.
UH’s proposed biotechnology degree program is expected to
receive final confirmation from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating
Board by next summer.
The U.S. Department of Labor has cited biotechnology as a high-growth
industry and identified its three primary workforce issues as recruitment,
training and education. In 2002, Texas Gov. Rick Perry established
the Governor’s Council on Science and Biotechnology Development
describing the industry as “the wave of the future when it
comes to health care.”
UH’s College of Technology offers undergraduate and graduate
degrees related to practical technology and consumer science. Its
curriculum includes programs in engineering technology, information
technology, logistics, merchandising and life sciences technology.
For more information on the College of Technology, visit http://www.tech.uh.edu/.
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research
and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers
and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate,
civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university
in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and
service with more than 35,000 students.
For more information about UH visit
the universitys Newsroom at www.uh.edu/admin/media/newsroom.