Cheyney U. partners with The Wistar Institute for life science program

“This partnership will equip our students to become leaders with careers in life science research,” Cheyney President Aaron Walton said (Photo courtesy of the Wistar Institute, via The Philadelphia Tribune)

By Chanel Hill

Cheyney University and The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia have formed a partnership to expand life science research education, training and business development opportunities in Pennsylvania.

The partnership will bring together the nation’s first HBCU and the nation’s first independent biomedical research institute. The agreement also marks the sixth biosciences entity to join Cheyney University.

“This partnership will equip our students to become leaders with careers in life science research,” said Cheyney President Aaron Walton. “It will also provide more internships and career development opportunities for our students, preparing them for future careers while earning their degrees at Cheyney.

“Our longer term objective is to create a biotech hub on campus, so this collaborative relationship fits perfectly in our strategy,” he added.

Mosaic Development Partners, Cheyney’s corporate partnership facilitator, worked with Calvin Snowden Jr. and Robert Carrington, former Centocor professionals, to cultivate the relationship between Cheyney and The Wistar Institute.

“The relationship consummated between Cheyney and Wistar affirms that our collective strategy to create a biosciences hub at Cheyney and one that focuses on student enrichment, research and entrepreneurship is working,” Mosaic’s managing doctor of commercial leasing, Timothy Roseboro, said in a statement.

Through the partnership, Cheyney students will participate in The Wistar Institute’s biomedical research and training curriculum and gain hands-on laboratory experience through laboratory courses and internships that can progress into Wistar’s credentialed apprenticeship program.

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“We have created a stand-alone teaching lab where students can come in and learn what to do in the lab, how to establish a project, and work with real-life problems,” said Dario C. Altieri, president and CEO of Wistar.

“Eventually, we’re going to transfer all of that to Cheyney on-site as well as the curriculum in terms of the classroom and laboratory training,” he added.

Cheyney’s on-campus life science businesses will also become part of the Philadelphia Research Consortium, a preclinical research network that facilitates easy access to the region’s robust research and development pipeline.

The consortium allows local, national and international startup and biotech partners to leverage the collective research strengths of Philadelphia’s life sciences community.

“By combining education, business development and technology training in a unified framework, we will be able to maximize the potential of our students to become the next generation of scientists, innovators and life science professionals in this region and beyond,” Altieri said.

“Our vision is to merge science and entrepreneurship to create value, jobs, and the technologies of the future,” he added.

Cheyney students will train in biomedical research techniques and business development curricula that will be integrated into a comprehensive program over four years.

Student requirements to participate in the program include: majoring in life science, being in good academic standing, and completing prerequisite science courses.

“Students have to perform well in General Biology I, General Biology II and Chemistry I courses,” Walton said. “Those are the prerequisites that students must have to position themselves to be successful in their internships.”

Altieri said that through the partnership he hopes that students will not only have “a love for science, but will also think about having a career in life science.”

“What we hope to accomplish is not just a degree, even though that’s really important, but what we really hope to convey to students is that they have a career ahead of them,” Altieri said. “These jobs lead to very professional advancement in the sciences and biotech world.”

Chanel Hill is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.