When SoBran built its contract research facility at Rangos, Johns Hopkins’s Science and Technology Park in downtown Baltimore, the team felt it was important to build connections with the local community.

They formed a relationship with Baltimore City Community College (BCCC), which has a Life Sciences program offering two-year associate degrees, one-year certificates, and health care and industry-specific training programs.

“The BCCC students are passionate about wanting a career in science,” explains SoBran BioScience Director John DeLeonardis. “We were looking for entry level people we could train and it was the perfect fit. Anytime we look to hire new technical personnel, they are our first call.”

From the classroom to the lab

SoBran's Ryan Hamilton teaches at BCCC

SoBran's Ryan Hamilton teaches at BCCC

Last year, SoBran expanded its relationship with BCCC. Ryan Hamilton, a SoBran Facility Manager supporting the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), spent the Spring 2014 semester teaching an introductory lab animal science course. Paired with the course, an internship at SoBran’s Rangos facility helped the students translate what they learned in the classroom and gain hands-on experience.

The course is based on American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) materials and best practices as well as the lab animal facility Ryan manages at NIAID. “Sharing real life experiences makes a huge difference in explaining why the regulations and the rules are important.” He’ll teach the course again this coming Fall semester.

SoBran has also hosted student interns looking to carry what they learned in the classroom into a real life setting. At the Rangos facility students learn about animal caretaking, laboratory equipment, and Good Laboratory Practices.

“I wish I’d had this opportunity when I first started with the industry,” says Ryan. “It would have been great to know more about the lab animal and contract research industry and get a feel for what my options were. This program gives students an opportunity to see what the live animal field is all about. “