College News

Upstream and away for CCCC program


Sanford, NC–The bioprocess technology program atrn Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) is streamingrn toward the future. The program received exciting news Thursday,rn December 2, 2004 when Golden LEAF, a non-profit corporation,rn approved a $124,000 grant for new equipment to teach upstreamrn processing at the new science building on the Lee campus.rn The CCCC proposal was presented as a part of many grantsrn the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) andrn its BioNetwork program had up for approval.

rn “rn We are quite excited to be receiving additional funds torn purchase some rather expensive equipment,” said bioprocessingrn technology lead instructor Susan Poindexter. “Withoutrn the generosity of Golden LEAF, the college would not bern able to afford the items we plan to purchase with the grantrn monies.”

rn The expensive new equipment will enable the bioprocessrn technology program to better prepare and educate studentsrn learning the principles of upstream bioprocessing.

rn “rn Upstream bioprocessing entails all the necessary preparationrn steps in growing a microorganism,” explained Poindexter. “Thern broth in which the organism will be grown has to be prepared,rn which can require several operations such as weighing outrn all the chemical components, mixing them, and then inoculatingrn the broth with the organism of choice. The growth of thern organism itself–fermentation–is also consideredrn an upstream bioprocessing operation.”

rn The program will now be able to purchase a Sixfors multi-fermenter,rn a shaker incubator and several pieces of bench equipmentrn that will be utilized by all bioprocessing students.rn The Sixfors multi-fermenter has six fermenters and willrn increase the efficiency and productivity of laboratoryrn activities. The upstream processing course currently usesrn a single fermenter, which limits a student’s hands-onrn experience. The shaker incubator enhances cell growth duringrn fermenting. The bench equipment will furnish four workstationsrn in the program’s laboratory. The new equipment isrn scheduled to be installed by August 2005 and will be availablern to students during the 2005-2006 academic year.

rn Engineering technologies chair Steve Lympany believes thern new equipment will better prepare students for the future. “Itrn provides hands-on simulations of the processes that takern place in the industry,” Lympany said. “Studentsrn are then well prepared to enter the workplace with usefulrn knowledge and skills to begin a successful career in bioprocessing.”

rn “rn Since upstream processing is a major part of the work carriedrn on within the bioprocessing industry, the addition of thern equipment will enable us to better prepare the studentsrn by allowing more hands-on experience,” added Poindexter. “Arn larger number of students can be involved in the lab activitiesrn without having to wait in line.”

rn The bioprocess technology program at CCCC trains bioprocessrn manufacturing technicians and was the first in North Carolinarn to offer a two-year Associate in Applied Sciences degree.rn The program’s laboratory activities develop studentrn proficiency in basic lab techniques involving the growth,rn identification and separation of microorganisms. Studentsrn learn the importance of controlling contamination, variousrn product purification methods and current good manufacturingrn practices.

rn “rn CCCC is excited to be the leader in educating and trainingrn for the growing bioprocess industry in North Carolina,” Lympanyrn said.

rn “rn CCCC was one of the first community colleges in North Carolinarn to respond to the need for biotech training,” saidrn CCCC president Matt Garrett. “The equipment for trainingrn biotechnicians is very expensive, and during the recentrn recession the state cut community college equipment fundingrn for several years. Consequently, we have been running thisrn curriculum on a very tight budget. This grant, which isrn the second one we have received this year, will help usrn to provide the kind of bioprocessing equipment that ourrn students really need for proper training.”

rn The bioprocessing technology program received an $84,000rn grant from Golden LEAF in June which is being used to purchasern downstream processing equipment (for separation and purification)rn along with some other items. The two grants totaling $208,200rn will allow students to run a process virtually from startrn to finish.

rn CCCC first offered the bioprocess technology program inrn 1998 and since then the program has steadily grown fromrn 15 the first year to 56 in Fall 2003. The program has trainedrn over 300 workers since 2000.

rn For more information on the bioprocess technology programrn at CCCC visit the website at