Program Overview

Our Mission

The mission of our program is to expand access to research and research-related careers by helping trainees attain essential experiences, skills, and knowledge, particularly in protein research and biotechnology creation, and by promoting research-informed graduate education and inclusive research ecosystems.

Program Objectives

  1. Cultivate a diverse, equitable, and inclusive research environment that enhances individual scientific identities by using transparent trainee communication, individualized mentoring, mentor training, and rigorous evaluation.
  2. Sponsor mentored research experiences and transdisciplinary interactions (focused on protein research) to (a) build technical and operational skills needed to perform self-directed, rigorous, reproducible, safe, and ethical research; (b) generate innovative basic and applied research advances; and (c) help students acquire broad scientific literacy with specialized mastery.
  3. Sponsor team- and project-based learning (focused on biotechnology careers) that enable individualized career exploration and the acquisition of knowledge and professional skills required to build networks, establish collaborations, and negotiate career opportunities, especially in biotechnology, with mentored internships, student-driven program activities, and student-centered coursework.
  4. Improve program and institutional graduate education outcomes by disseminating mentorship training, advocating for best practices in research and didactic training at WSU, and creating opportunities for non-program participants.

Informed by Evaluation

We use a multifaceted quantitative and qualitative evaluation program to work with our trainees to reach program objectives. See our Outcomes section for more details.

  • Confidential surveys (inclusivity, mentorship, professional development)
  • Insight from individualized interviewing at career touch points (onboarding, thesis lab selection, graduation, etc.)
  • Traditional graduate training outcomes (time-to-degree, degree completion, publications)
  • Career outcomes that promote and foster individual trainee goals

Core Strengths

  • An approach to meet the needs of modern graduate education and workforce development. Our objectives, pedagogy, mentorship, and programming are informed by best practices in the literature, including National Academy of Science recommendations for graduate education. Student trainees play an integral role in program development, activities, and evaluation to help us meet individual and cohort needs.
  • Depth and breadth of training in protein chemistry and protein biotechnology creation. For decades, WSU has been a leader in the study of protein chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology. We recognize that “protein biotechnology” is an evolving subject, and the include opportunities for using -omics, computational bioinformatics, and genetic engineering central to the modern biotech industry.
  • Interdisciplinary programs and collaborative project-based learning. The community of biotechnology scientists at WSU is open, cooperative, and interactive. For example, 20% of the currently listed intellectual property created by BTP laboratories involves collaboration between labs from two or more disciplines. Project-based work has proven to be an essential driver of learning and leadership skill development and is a key component of modern research.
  • Strong connections with industry. Students intern and find permanent positions with a variety of biotechnology firms, many of which were established in the last three decades. We engage our alumni as part of our program’s formal training in networking and career advancement.
  • Institutional Commitment. Recently completed buildings house the School of Molecular Biosciences, the Allen Center for Global Animal Health, and faculty in the Departments of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, the Program in Molecular Plant Sciences and the Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering and provide superb physical facilities for Trainees and training faculty. An array of university-administered centers offer access to state of the art instrumentation.