Imagine being on the forefront of medicines tailor-made for patients, creating new and better treatments and cures for genetic and acquired diseases, discovering ways to increase the nutritional values of food crops and decrease our dependence on fertilizers and pesticides, or uncovering ways to use bio products to remediate contaminated properties.
All these things are possible and they’re happening at a small school with very big dreams and a history of pioneering spirit. North Carolina Central University (NCCU) has created the Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise (BRITE) specifically to train the next generation of biotechnology scientists and expand North Carolina’s already booming biotech industry. By establishing a faculty of nationally recognized scientists and educators and partnering with premiere biotech companies like Eli Lilly and Company, Biogen Idec, Novozymes and Wyeth to create curriculum, BRITE is becoming one of the leading biotechnology educational institutions in the nation.
The program began in 2006 when NCCU, along with several other state universities, the community college system and North Carolina biotech companies, formed BioImpact – a group striving to make the state a national center for biomanufacturing through superior educational training and innovative research. North Carolina already ranks third in the nation in number of biotechnology companies, with more than 450 organizations employing 55,000+ people and generating approximately $3 billion in annual revenue. The industry is particularly important to North Carolina as it offers employment opportunities that span a variety of skills and educational levels, from research scientists and medical doctors to technicians, laboratory researchers, and manufacturing workers.
BRITE was partially funded by another BioImpact affiliated organization – The Golden LEAF Foundation, created to invest North Carolina’s tobacco settlement funds in economic development initiatives. The Foundation provided $20.1 million toward the creation of BRITE’s 52,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility, which made it possible for us to design a curriculum that emphasizes hands-on learning. This approach ensures our students will make a difference in their work environments immediately upon graduation. We prepare our students by offering classes developed in conjunction with the very companies they may join upon graduation and the opportunity to work in industry-modeled labs throughout their education. We also provide scholarships, career development advice, work aid and graduate assistantships. B.S. and M.S. degree programs are available now and our Ph.D. program is currently in development.
If you’re currently a student, we hope you’ll contact us to learn more about a program that will put you on the forefront of advances in health care, agriculture, the environment and more. If you’re already part of the biosciences industry, we hope you’ll contact us to learn how you can help train the scientists of tomorrow or further your own education.
At BRITE, we believe the possibilities within our program are as limitless as the field of biotechnology itself. We hope you’ll join us as we discover and explore new frontiers few can only imagine.