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Frederick Community College Offering Affordable, Accessible Cell Therapy and Flow Cytometry Course in Spring 2023

This article is sponsored by Frederick Community College’s Biotechnology program

It’s no secret that cell therapy has taken the way we traditionally think about medicine and flipped it on its head. Diseases that were once hard to treat or completely untreatable with small molecules and biologics now are within a shorter reach. As we continue to tinker and improve the technology we continue to see more success stories from patients around the world – patients with no other options who are now enjoying their lives as before. And while we still have a ways to go to realize the full potential of cell therapy, the market doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

Flow cytometry is undoubtedly one of the most powerful and important lab techniques needed for cell therapy work. We can use fluorescent markers to track how well viruses are transfecting cells with the genes needs to create CAR T cells. Cells can be labeled with a plethora of antibodies to get a precise characterization of cell type distribution in a sample. We can get a before-and-after screenshot of how a cell population responds to certain stimuli and how they differentiate, and we can also assess the health of cells and whether they’re proliferating or dying.

RELATED: Go with the Flow – Why Flow Cytometry has Become One of the Most Sought-After Biotech Job Skills, and How to be Competitive

As more cell therapy companies are setting their roots in the BioHealth Capital Region, there is a great need for workers that are trained in flow cytometry techniques.

Many jobseekers might think that they need to pursue an advanced degree or spend a fortune on a specialized training program to learn the ins-and-outs of flow cytometry, but this is not the case. You don’t need to be an expert in flow cytometry to get your foot in the door to an exciting and meaningful career path in cell therapy, nor does training need to be extremely expensive – Frederick Community College (FCC) is here to help.   

FCC has set up a variety of biotech workforce-specific training programs to help jobseekers realize their untapped potential, including a new half-semester Cell Therapy and Flow Cytometry course to prepare jobseekers to be competitive and find success in a number of exciting cell therapy roles.

The hybrid course is a mix of lectures and hands-on laboratory work, with lectures being taught remotely and labs occurring in-person. And while students can take the course through FCC’s Biotech degree or certificate programs, you don’t need to be a full-time FCC student to register. Students can take the Cell therapy and Flow cytometry course on the non-credit side and earn a Flow Cytometry Basics badge that can go on their resume and LinkedIn. If they also want to polish up their cell culture skills, they also have the option to earn a Cell Therapy and Flow Cytometry Letter of Recognition badge if they take the course alongside FCC’s BIOT-220 Cell Biology and Cell Culture Techniques course, which also runs in the Spring 2023 semester.

“We really wanted to make this class accessible and affordable for anyone who already has an undergraduate or Master’s degree and wants to boost their skillset by learning the basics of cell therapy and flow cytometry,” said Dr. Savita Prabhakar, Program Manager of FCC’s Biotechnology program. “The course is also taught by local industry professionals who do these techniques every day, meaning that students will be getting top-notch training.”

Students will learn skills in the following areas:

  • Principles of flow cytometry
  • Aseptic cell culture techniques
  • How to prepare flow samples
  • Data acquisition using the flow cytometer
  • Instrument setup, calibration, and shutdown procedures
  • Data analysis using FlowJo software (a commonly used software in the field)
  • T cell isolation and activation
  • PCR

And upon completion of the course, students will:

  • Have a better understanding of what cell therapy is and its applications
  • Understand the concept of flow cytometry and why it’s such an important tool in the cell and gene therapy field
  • Know how to perform a basic flow cytometry protocol from cell prep to analysis
  • Understand other important flow cytometry principles such as fluorophore selection, developing a multi-color panel, antibody selection, and compensation
  • Be able to perform other common techniques such as cell culture/maintenance, PCR, and ELISA

In addition to the Cell Therapy and Flow Cytometry course, FCC offers an array of other trainings and programs, including supply chain and logistics training, apprenticeship programs, a biotech bootcamp, and credit certificates. Be sure to check out all of the college’s offerings to see how they can help you either find your next role or get to the next step in your career.

Additional Course Details

Duration: 3/16/23 – 5/11/23
Class Days/Times: Weekly on Tues and Thurs, 5:30pm – 8:00pm EST
Price: $633 total for 37 hours of hands-on lab training accompanied by lecture materials online
Deadline to Register: 3/16/23

Email [email protected] or call 301.846.2564 for more registration info.

Learn more about Frederick Community College’s Biotechnology Program offerings.

FCC’s Cell and Flow Cytometry course is funded by the National Science Foundation