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Innovations in Training and Education

Over the last five years there has been a stunning acceleration of innovation in biotechnology: 

  • CRISPR (Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) and its refinements will lead to precision gene editing that will improve food crop yields and provide cures to cancer.
  • Lightning-fast gene sequencing will allow the early detection of cancer from a simple blood test. 
  • High-speed bulk data transfer allows the entire genomes of millions of people to be compared online to search for cures to both common and rare diseases.
  • Neuromorphic chips will accelerate the dawn of artificial intelligence, and smart prostheses will allow para- and quadriplegic patients to move, the deaf to hear and the blind to see.
  • Discovery of synergies in applications that blur the boundaries of traditional science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines will continue to fuel the exponential growth of innovation.

The 2016 BIO/Teconomy Report identified a 6.6% job growth rate with a 16.7% wage increase in the Drugs and Pharmaceuticals industry sector of California from 2012-2014.  Likewise, in the Research, Testing and Medical Laboratories bioscience industry sector, a 2.3% increase in jobs was accompanied by a 17.6% increase in wages.  Similar trends exist in the bioscience-related distribution sector, and this growth trend was sustained through 2016.

In short, this data means that companies in the California bioscience industry sectors are expanding and aggressively competing for skilled talent.  But exactly what type of employee should companies be seeking to hire?  Of course it’s hugely important that employees of the biomedical products sectors be well-trained technically, and, in the past, employers generally hired primarily according to an applicant’s technical skillset. With high loss rates of new hires during initial training periods, however, companies have realized that technical depth rarely equates to long-term productivity, employment longevity and career success.  Instead, positive career success depends heavily on a combination of technical expertise with a strong work ethic, an ability to work in multidisciplinary teams, and solid written and oral communication skills. To accomplish this type of training, industry has partnered with academic institutions.  This arrangement provides strong benefits to all participants.

The Master of Science in Biotechnology Studies at Azusa Pacific University, launching in fall, 2017 and currently accepting applications at is an example of this type of degree program that is designed to accommodate working professionals. In general, the paradigm of applied training partnerships between companies and academic institutions is a practical model for providing well-trained workers for continued expansion of the bioscience industry sectors through the 21st century.


“Innovations in Training and Education for the Biomedical Products Industry Workforce”

Dr. Dyer will speak at APU Murrieta Campus’s first Speakers Series event:

Tuesday, April 4, 2017 from 6 – 8pm -Azusa Pacific University Murrieta Regional Campus located at 40508 Murrieta Hot Springs Road in Murrieta.  Dinner provided.  Adults only. 

David Dyer, Ph.D., David Dyer, Ph.D.,  Executive Director, MS Biotechnology Program, Azusa Pacific University

RSVP:  Gloria Wolnick at (951) 304-3400 or