Biotech 101 for the Non-Scientists, Spring 2013

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Are you new to the life sciences Industry? Do you need to have a better understanding of the science and technology driving the industry? Biotech 101 is a course designed specifically for the non-scientists. The program covers two full days of biotechnology information for non-science professionals who may be working on looking to work within a science-based industry.   

Participants will benefit from several hands on activities using Lego DNA models, Agarose Gels, in addtion to a DNA exercise featured here:

LEGO DNA: Assembling Proteins from subunits using specially designed Lego DNA models, and produce proteins from mRNA message translation; Build proteins to illustrate protein structures, and compare mutations for genetic outcomes -- the basis for which companies develop drugs to treat diseases.

Pipetting and Gels: Work with agarose gels and pipettes to understand the process of separating molecules - work that goes on in every scientific lab.

Class Topics Include:

Day One:

  • Biology – Basic Concepts, & Life’s Building Blocks: DNA - RNA - Protein and Genetics
  • Cells and Cancer
  • Genomics and Gene Expression
  • Personalized Medicine & Diagnostics
  • Ethical and Topical Issues

Day Two:

  • Industry Overview
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Bioinformatics & Drug Discovery
  • Biosimilars & Biomanufacturing 
  • Drug Development: from Discovery to Clinical Trials

Other topic areas covered during the course of both days are:  Genomics, Proteomics, Stem Cells, Diagnostics, Small Molecules, Biologics and Orphan Diseases and Drugs

Target Audience:

  • Professionals from all sectors of the biotech, pharma, and life sciences industries, including: sales, marketing, HR, legal, manufacturing, business development, finance, management, government relations, IT, safety, tech transfer offices
  • Patient advocacy groups, disease foundations
  • Policy makers, lobbyists, attorneys
  • Venture capitalists, angel investors, banks, analysts, financial managers
  • Insurance brokers, real estate professionals
  • Consultants, public relations specialists, journalists
  • University administrators, research institute support staff
  • Environmental & Health & Safety Engineers

A reference guide containing all of the material used in the presentation along with a  glossary of biotech terms will be given to each participant, along with a copy of The Bluffer's Guide to Genetics. Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.


Gwen Acton, Ph.D., is the CEO of Vivo Group.  Dr. Acton works with companies to increase the productivity and innovation of technically trained experts, as well as improve the ability of scientists, engineers and non scientists to successfully navigate the life science and technology industries.  Prior to this, Dr. Acton was Director of Scientific Development at the Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Research where she oversaw operations of a $40million dollar research program.  She earned a doctorate in biology from MIT, and served as a faculty member in biology at Harvard University.  Dr. Acton is the former president of the non-profit group Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology (WEST), and currently serves on the board of the Bioscience Network (TBN).  Dr. Acton is the author of the book The Bluffer's Guide to Genetics.


  • $1,095 for MassBio Member
  • $1,245 for Non-Member
  • $795 for Non-Profit Rate


May 30-31, 2013
9:00 am - 4:30pm


Corporate Professional Development


MassBio Offices
300 Technology Square, 8th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02139

Level of Knowledge