BUSM’S CityLab Academy Offers Opportunities in Biotechnology

in Health & Medicine, News Releases, School of Medicine
April 18th, 2006

Contact: Kristen Perfetuo, 617-638-8491 | kristen.perfetuo@bmc.org

(Boston) – Peering through a microscope, Sandra Bustamante-Lopez smiles as she observes tiny cells floating around in a petri-dish. “This job is so rewarding,” she explains. “It’s nice to know my research could potentially improve people’s health. Everyday, I learn something new.”

The 20-year-old BUSM lab technician has come a long way from her previous job. Two years ago, Bustamante-Lopez was a cashier at a local supermarket. While the high school graduate could not afford college, she felt that a career in food services was not her destiny.

“One of my high school teachers told me about CityLab Academy,” she explained. “Because I love math and science, I knew this program was for me.”

Since 1996, BUSM’s CityLab Academy training program has offered qualified high school graduates the opportunity to participate in the thriving biotechnology industry.

The free nine-month academic and job-skills training program provides students with the knowledge and hands-on experience necessary for career placement as lab technicians. Twelve college credits are received as part of the program. Many CityLab Academy graduates continue to pursue a bachelor of science, often at the expense of their employer.

Applications are now available for students interested in enrolling for the fall 2006 academic year. To apply, students must be a Boston resident and 18-years of age or older.

“As BUMC expands in the area of biomedical research, we are going to continue to recruit and train people from the community to work in this growing market,” said Connie Phillips, MA, MPH, director of CityLab Academy.

For Bustamante-Lopez, the training she received through CityLab Academy enables her to perform her current project –developing a vaccine for amyloidosis, a disease in which one or more organ systems in the body accumulate deposits of abnormal proteins. At night, she attends classes at BU where she is pursuing her BS in Biomedical Laboratory and Clinical Sciences (www.bu.edu/biotech).

“CityLab Academy sharpened my analytical skills and helped me realize the extent of my scientific curiosity,” said Bustamante-Lopez. “The program opened so many doors for me.”

For more information and to download an application to CityLab Academy, visit www.bu.edu/citylabacademy, or call (617) 638-5664.

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