The Westchester Certificate: Essential Skills in the Laboratory


Organized by Roundtable: Educators and Employers

We thank those involved and their organizations for helping guide the development of the Westchester Certificate. None of this, or any of our work, would be possible without the continual support and generous time committed from members of our community. Thank you!

During 2019-2020, pilot sessions will be offered through online and in-person environments.

We’re looking for feedback. If you would like to review our curriculum document, please send a note to:

Westchester Certificate Development Co-Chairs Contributors:

Carla Romney, D.Sc., Adjunct Research Assistant Professor of Medical Sciences and Education, Boston University
Amy Allen, Vice President - Westchester County Association
Joanne Gere, Executive Director, Westchester Biotech Project

All Contributors: *Module Chairs

Module A: Laboratory Safety
The laboratory is full of potential dangers -- from broken glass, to caustic materials, to high-temperature experimental apparatus, and more. This module will address appropriate levels of equipment knowledge and situational awareness needed to traverse the lab safely.

*Raymond Houston, Ed.D., Dean, School of Mathematics, Science, and Engineering, Westchester Community College
*Carla Romney, D.Sc., Adjunct Research Assistant Professor of Medical Sciences and Education, Boston University
Glenetta Phillips, Program Specialist, Center for Career Education and Applied Learning, Westchester Community College
Matthew Anderson, Safety Officer, Medxcel, St. Vincent's Medical Center

Module B: Scientific Laboratory Notebook Practice
A thorough and searchable laboratory notebook is required for progress in research. Clear, comprehensive, and well thought out notes are absolutely essential for troubleshooting, replicating experiments, and capturing fleeting thoughts in the moment. Further, clear and organized documentation of experimental protocols, conditions and results become essential when compiling data sets for presentation, publication, or filing of intellectual property.

*Jim Rotolo, Ph.D., Head of Research, Sapience Therapeutics
Ricardo Schiavo, Manager LIMS, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Module C: Aseptic Technique
Thorough understanding of sterile technique is essential in any 21st century laboratory. While technologies may change, the necessity to conduct research in a sterile manner will always stay the same. Whether working with cell or tissue cultures, diagnostics assay development, production testing, or simply making a buffer, scientists who understand best aseptic practices are able to generate reliable data from complex studies -- preventing questionable and discarded results.

*Jim Rotolo, Ph.D., Head of Research, Sapience Therapeutics
*Renee Haskew-Layton, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Program Head in Biology, Mercy College
*Kim Walsh, Assistant Professor, Westchester Community College

Module D: Sustainability in the Lab
This module leverages new training videos produced by My Green Lab in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). These videos will address how to approach research with sustainability in mind. The responsible use of energy and water will be discussed in conjunction with strategies for waste reduction. In addition, laboratory design and operation strategies aimed at reducing the environmental impact of laboratories will also be addressed.

*Allison Paradise, Executive Director, My Green Lab
*Stephen Harris, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology, Purchase College, SUNY

Module E: Understanding the Drug Development Process
Drug development requires many different disciplines that interact over long periods of time. Understanding the overall roadmap can position an employee for competitive advancement. A broad understanding of the drug development process will be given, including: the research process, clinical trial regulations and support, the approval process in the US and abroad, as well as the challenges of Market Access and Commercialization.  

*Kevin Freiert, Principal, Salem Oaks Consulting  
*Geoff Garabedian, Founder and President, TriRadial Solutions
Leo Dodds, Partner, TriRadial Solutions
Antonio Biancardi, CEO, Centrific Technology Partners

How did it all start?

It happened quite naturally. During our first session, in the spring of 2018, one leader at the table mentioned a challenge in preparing new hires for safety issues in the lab. The entire group, representing seven colleges and several companies, nodded. From that point on, we have been working on a relevant and timely curriculum with input from academic and industry labs.

Our entire Roundtable takes an active role in reaching out to regional companies and healthcare providers to assure alignment in our efforts. We appreciate the generous participation of many regional colleges and universities. These collaborative organizations understand that tomorrow’s gains are built on strong relationships that are flexible, pleasurable, and international.