Students in a lab listening to professor.
University News | 4/2/2024

Get an Inside Look at Bioversity

By Jennifer Persons

Students in a lab listening to professor.

This photo gallery spotlights the new initiative from MassBio and MCPHS to train Boston residents for jobs in life sciences.

The first 16 students recently graduated from Bioversity, a new workforce training initiative from MassBio. Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) is the program’s first education partner, creating a curriculum including classroom lessons, hands-on lab training, and professional development. Here’s a look at what the training entails.

Bioversity Sign

Bioversity is a combined 4,000-square-foot classroom and lab space at Southline Boston, formerly the Boston Globe Headquarters.

Students in a classroom listening to professor.

Students sit at table and laugh with professor.

Students attend training sessions Monday through Thursday for eight weeks. Sessions typically begin with classroom instruction before students head into the lab to practice their skills. Associate Dean of Graduate Studies Ronny Priefer, PhD, is one of several MCPHS faculty members teaching at Bioversity.

Male student in lab adjusts gloves.

Safety is critically important in any lab setting, so students wear lab coats, gloves, and protective eyewear.

“When I was in school, I liked science and wanted to be a biomedical engineer, but I never went to school for it,” said Lazaro Rivera, one of the graduates. “This is a steppingstone to go back to that path.”

Two male and two female students look at a beaker.

Male student measures volume.

In this lab, students learn the importance of accuracy when working in a lab. They practice measuring volume using various tools like pipettes and scales to get an exact measurement.

Students in lab.

This first cohort of students ranges in age from 18 to 48 with varying levels of education or employment experience.

“Before this, I was a dental assistant instructor and I taught microbiology,” said Clarissa Ramirez. “Seeing behind the scenes of the science world, I want to make a change and be a part of it.”

Students and Professor in a lab.

Instrument in a lab

In the second part of this lab, students learn how to test the pH—or the level of acidity—of common liquids, such as water and soda, using a pH meter, which is a delicate piece of glass equipment.

Bioversity students

Several Bioversity graduates have received job offers from life sciences companies, including Flagship Lab Services and Abcam. Training is already underway for the second cohort of students. By the end of 2024, Bioversity and MCPHS hope to train 100 new workers.