A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity that made me pause to reflect on the human characteristics that drive scientific achievement: I volunteered at my kids’ elementary-school science fair in Worthington.
The students’ projects were impressive. One second-grader developed experiments to determine whether it mattered if clothes were washed in hot water or cold (no difference); another evaluated how many germs pass from person to person during a fist bump (a disturbing amount).
When I was young, the science fairs were full of volcanoes and solar systems. And while there were a number of those projects, too – and believe me, I love geology and space as much as the next science geek – I was inspired by the volume of projects that focused on human health.
I was also inspired by the students’ curiosity and critical thinking skills. And that was where I started drawing connections to BioOhio members. Many of the students exhibited the same traits we value in our members: a passion to pursue something that interests them, problem-solving skills to persevere through complex experiments, confidence to talk about the results and explain why they mattered.
As I walked through that fair, I thought about our members, but I kept returning to a BioOhio board member, Dr. Mike Triplett. Mike is co-founder, president, and CEO of Armatus Bio, a cell and gene therapy company and BioOhio member. He knew that cell and gene therapy would be an essential part of our treatment arsenals well before others were on board. But he saw it, and he helped Nationwide Children’s Hospital invest in it, and now, Armatus is developing therapies that will not only make people’s lives better – they will save lives, too.
It’s that kind of ingenuity and persistence that we are striving for as we grow Ohio’s biosciences and biotech economies.
The science fair also got me thinking about our future workforce. At BioOhio, we are constantly thinking about how we develop Ohio’s bioscience talent pipeline. It was not lost on me that my kids’ science fair, and others like it across the state, are probably fueling the passion, curiosity, and drive of some of Ohio’s future scientists and leaders. Ohio is well-positioned to make strong, strategic investments in workforce development and to keep supporting our innovative bioscience and biotech researchers and entrepreneurs. BioOhio is working on this and has focused on improving our members’ awareness of and access to workforce trends and resources and connecting to educators at our universities, community colleges, and tech centers already offering strong bioscience curricula.
For example, I recently visited BioOhio member Eastland-Fairfield Career and Tech in Gahanna last week to review the high school’s Senior Bioscience Capstone Projects. Three young women took top honors, and their projects perfectly illustrated the advanced abilities of our up-and-coming bioscience leaders. One investigated Schwann cell nuclei counts and internode length relationships in CMT-2E models. Another analyzed protein expression in chicken samples from various food stores using proteomics. The third participated in a study of the influence of repetitive traumatic brain injury on the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
It was clearly evident these students will be great contributors to Ohio’s bioscience companies.
We’re doing this work now in part to make that industry stronger for these kids, and since joining BioOhio last summer, I’ve found myself surrounded by inspiring stories almost daily. I’m looking forward to using this space to share with you not only important industry news but also some of those inspiring stories. And I look forward to hearing about what inspires you too.
President & CEO