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David Luzzi, senior vice provost for research and vice president of Northeastern’s Innovation Campus, and Killian O’Driscoll, who directs projects at the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research, sign a partnership agreement on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Northeastern establishes global partnership to improve the quality of medicine

David Luzzi, senior vice provost for research and vice president of Northeastern’s Innovation Campus, and Killian O’Driscoll, who directs projects at the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research, sign a partnership agreement on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Most biotechnology experts have never heard of the majority of advanced drugs and therapies being developed by biopharmaceutical companies today, said Jared Auclair, who directs the Biopharmaceutical Training Analysis Laboratory at Northeastern. Biopharmaceutical skills, he said, are in short supply around the world. And, he said, institutions are struggling to provide the skills and training needed to ensure that safe and quality medications enter the market. 

To help solve these problems, Northeastern has joined with a research and training center in Ireland to prepare the next generation of scientists, engineers, and lab technicians to produce high quality drugs for patients around the world. Participants, including Northeastern undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students, will take courses and workshops to learn how to master new research techniques and design new technology required to create drugs that limit harmful side effects, Auclair said.

Northeastern has formed a partnership with a research and training center in Ireland to prepare the next generation of scientists, engineers, and lab technicians to produce safe and high quality medications for patients around the world. Photos by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

“We can research and think outside the box with innovative projects that we can co-develop and really revolutionize the way drugs are made and analyzed,” said Auclair, who also directs the Executive Training and Biotechnology Programs at Northeastern. “In the next five years, I hope that we can produce innovative technologies and methodology so that we have new instruments and new ways of doing experiments to make sure the drugs that we’re producing and that are going into patients today are safe.”

A researcher walks into Building V at Northeastern’s Innovation Campus in Burlington, Massachusetts, on Sept. 10, 2019. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

The Biopharmaceutical Training Analysis Laboratory and the Barnett Institute for Chemical and Biological Analysis at Northeastern signed a partnership agreement with the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training in Ireland on Tuesday morning at Northeastern’s Innovation Campus in Burlington, Massachusetts. 

Each institution will play a crucial role in supporting the next generation of biopharmaceutical professionals and cutting edge research, Auclair said. The Biopharmaceutical Training Analysis Laboratory will train students in drug creation, manufacturing, and regulatory steps. The Barnett Institute will ensure that state-of-the-art equipment and methodology are used to improve how new drugs and therapies are analyzed. And the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training will provide students and researchers access to world-class equipment and expert insight into the biotechnology industry.

Barry Karger, far right, who founded the Barnett Institute in the 1970s, pointed to Northeastern’s longstanding ability to provide innovative analysis of drugs and treatment. “I hope that the NIBRT and Barnett ties lead to exciting collaborations in training and research,” he said. Photos by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Barry Karger, who founded the Barnett Institute in the 1970s, pointed to Northeastern’s longstanding ability to provide innovative analysis of drugs and treatment. Over the years, the institute has made several major scientific advancements in its field, including developing new analytical techniques and discovering novel biomarkers for cancer. 

“We’ve always tried to have a collaboration association with the biotechnology industry and the pharmaceutical industry, but if you don’t have the tools you don’t the ability,” said Karger, a professor emeritus of chemistry and chemical biology at Northeastern. “I hope that the NIBRT and Barnett ties lead to exciting collaborations in training and research.” 

Killian O’Driscoll, who directs projects at the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research, acknowledged the shortfall of biopharmaceutical professionals and the need for students and researchers to receive hands-on training in the lab in order to develop the ability to create better, safer drugs. 

“The most effective solution to that [demand] comes back very strongly as hands-on practical training, or what you might call competency based training, which is so required by industry and by our graduates,” said O’Driscoll, who signed a memo of understanding for the collaboration with David Luzzi, senior vice provost for research and vice president of Northeastern’s Innovation Campus. “At the very heart of what we do is collaboration, which is why we are delighted to have this collaboration with Northeastern University.”

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