Center for Plant and Life Sciences
The Center for Plant and Life Sciences, established in 2006, was developed in response to industry demands in the regional plant and life sciences industry. Drawing on the strength of relevant programming across the district, the center interfaces with business and industry to bring STLCC students a cutting-edge education and to provide workforce training in this growing industry. Since moving the Center to the Bio-Research, Development and Growth Park (BRDG Park), on the campus of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, in 2008, nearly $4 million in externally funded grants have provided the Center’s labs with cutting-edge equipment that allows graduates from the Biotechnology program to be trained to go to work immediately, in good paying jobs, and be highly sought after by regional bioscience companies.
The Center houses the following to support training in the Biotechnology and Life Science Lab Assistant programs:
- three state of the industry laboratories
- one instructional classroom
- staff and faculty office space
- A center director that coordinates the ongoing development and expansion of these programs within the context of this emerging high-demand industry in St. Louis.
- educational outreach staff that provides opportunities within the regional corridor of public, private and home schools
Since its inception in 2006, the Center for Plant and Life Sciences has received a number of awards, recognizing it as a model for workforce development, including:
- recognition by the Missouri Biotechnology Industry Organization (MOBIO) for excellence in education
- 2 Arcus Award nominations (Education and Bioscience)
- 3 Bellwether Award finalist nominations.
Through the Center for Plant and Life Sciences, STLCC actively participates in local and state bioscience events and leadership. The Center works closely with the MOBIO organization, with STLCC being among the founding members, having held positions on the MOBIO Board of Directors and Executive Committee.
Through an internal Contract Research Organization (CRO), the Center works closely with a number of industry partners, especially those small start-up companies that also reside in the BRDG Park facility and nearby Helix Center to accomplish the following:
- move the growth of the regional biosciences forward
- allow start-ups access to Center equipment through lab use agreements
- access to student talent through grant-funded internships, procured by the Center’s grant program, allowing companies to try a student intern at no cost, while providing the student a paid internship opportunity.
The Center entertains a number of business and political visitors each year and continues to be held up as a unique model for workforce development in the biosciences, with a rich history of success.
Faculty and Staff
Richard Norris, Director, Center for Plant and Life Sciences
Beth Elam Michaud, Business Specialist, Center for Plant and Life Sciences
Lee Douangkeomany, Education Outreach Specialist, Center for Plant and Life Sciences
Elizabeth Boedeker, Sr. Research Scientist, CRO Coordinator
Rachel Berman, Lab Manager
TBA, Instrumentation Specialist
Heather Allen, Administrative Assistant I, Center for Plant and Life Sciences