On Nov. 6-9, our Executive Director, Dr. Michelle Lewis, and Program Director Dr. Ehsan Mahdinia were guest speakers at the Recent Advances in Fermentation Technology (RAFT 14) conference in Orlando, Florida.
The RAFT conference, sponsored by the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (SIMB), discusses the challenges of the fermentation industry and practical solutions. Fermentation uses microorganisms to produce value-added products: for example, agricultural products such as biofuels, the fermented food industry, and nutraceuticals (food supplements).
Professionals who attended the conference primarily focused on cell and gene therapy. Our team leaders headlined the “Future Faces of Fermentation” session, along with RAFT Chair Mark Berge, RAFT Co-Chair Kat Allikain, and Jim Delkoe, Founder/Director of the Salm Community College Biotechnology Program.
The conversation emphasized outreach in education, even as early as sixth through 12th grade. Promoting STEM careers is essential, especially for biomanufacturing occupations. Doing so exposes this age group to careers they may not be aware of, increases college enrollment and expands the currently limited workforce in the field.
The industry also faces the challenges of limited materials and high demand not supporting the ability for large-scale projects. Dr. Mahdinia noted that government funding and assistance are needed to support academia and the biomanufacturing industry. CBET is proud to be a part of this experience, and we look forward to working toward impacting the next generation of fermentation experts.