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BioTechnology LabWhat is InnovaBio?

InnovaBio-MD is the first partner community college to replicate Salt Lake Community College's InnovaBio Program. InnovaBio-MD is an innovative partnership of corporations and educators working to support Maryland’s biotechnology industry. We offer a low risk environment for organizations wishing to develop a product or wanting to explore new ideas using our biotechnology lab, a qualified scientist and student interns. The challenging research completed by our interns creates a valuable talent pool for Maryland biotechnology companies.

The overall goal of the contract research organization, InnovaBio-MD, is to create flexible industry-based research internship opportunities available to both college and high school students. InnovaBio-MD contracts projects from regional biotechnology agencies and interns conduct the work. The research projects are performed on-campus at the Hagerstown Community College’s Technical Innovation Center and supervised by the InnovaBio-MD scientific staff. Students receive credible research experience and internship credit, as well as effective communication, problem solving and leadership skills.

The Biotechnology program at Hagerstown Community College has recently been awarded two grants.  Both the NSF and BRAC grants have been featured in newspaper articles in the local Herald-Mail.

Is InnovaBio for me?

Our mission is to enhance student education through legitimate corporate internships using peer-based learning.

Our Goals:

  1. Provide a challenging and exciting training environment for college and high school interns
  2. Provide optimal access to all interns to increase success in their career path
  3. Provide quality research services to contract company partners in a directed and timely fashion
  4. Contribute to economic and workforce development for the State of Maryland

What are the facilities and equipment like?

The InnovaBio-MD Program is a unique career and technical education program aimed at training college and high school students for entry-level positions in the biotechnology industry. It prepares students for immediate hands-on work in critical, high-impact industries in a way no other training program does. InnovaBio-MD was modeled off of the Salt Lake Community College InnovaBio program.

The InnovaBio-MD program is housed in the Technical Innovation Center. This building is used as a business incubator for small start-up companies. There was a wet lab addition completed in 2008 specifically for biotechnology start-up companies. There are 11 labs and 1 common lab providing shared equipment. InnovaBio-MD occupies 2 of the labs and provides students with standard equipment for research.

Because of the location of the facility, the students are also able to gain professional interactions with the four companies that are housed in the TIC wet-lab facility. That will expand the scope of knowledge to different research projects as well as everyday operations of a functioning company. What makes the InnovaBio-MD program special is its innovative partnership with research institutions and companies. Projects for the interns in InnovaBio-MD are contracted from the outside agencies and further, the collaborative partners will contribute to the students learning by providing services such as instruction and guest lectures.

Where will classes be held?

Our laboratories are located on the Hagerstown Community College campus, in the Technical Innovation Center. The labs are rooms 119 and 120.

What are the credentials of the faculty and staff?

Our laboratory is managed by a new Director to be determined.


Two Biotechnology program students completed internships in the InnovaBio-MD labs during the Summer 2011 semester.  Below are their thoughts regarding their experience.

I have gained so much insight and knowledge compared to what I knew of this field from just a semester ago. With the hands on experience that this internship at Innova-Bio has given me, I feel much more comfortable and confident in my ability to do my part in a lab setting out in the workforce. However, I know there is much more to learn and I strive to gain that knowledge as my interest and just excitement grows for the love of science and engineering. Innova-Bio has been the foundation for this.  -Chad Davis, Summer 2011 BTC-269 intern
My internship at Innova Bio MD was the most exciting experience that I have had in pursuit of my Associates degree in Biotechnology at Hagerstown Community College. Each day there was something new to learn in the lab. Each skill was learned and practiced many times. The instructors were helpful and took the time to explain each new concept. The concepts we learned in previous lecture classes was put into practice in the Innova Bio MD lab.  My internship made me feel confident and prepared me for my future career in Biotechnology. I am so glad that I applied for an internship position this summer and I hope that I will see everyone that I worked with again in the future. -Amy Kearns Summer 2011 BTC269 intern.

High School Students in BTC-102

BTC-102, Introduction to Applied Biotechnology Research, is a course designed to expose high school students to biotechnology research.  Students complete this course in the InnovaBio-MD labs and three students took the course during the Spring 2010 semester.  Their thoughts on the experience can be seen below.

“During spring semester 2010, I interned at the InnovaBio-MD lab with Dr. Rick Ulrich.  While the internship required a commitment of time and dedication, the experience was invaluable as well as lots of fun. The atmosphere was comfortable and relaxed, but at the same time, we felt responsible for completion of our assigned work.   Dr. Ulrich was always available to assist us and to answer any questions.  I feel the experience and knowledge I have gained while working in the lab has greatly prepared me as I transfer to a four year college as well as instilled a greater sense of confidence.  One of the best aspects of interning in the lab was getting to work alongside the other interns.  Everyone in the lab worked and learned together, and we became very close throughout the semester.  I am very blessed to have been a part of this internship and would highly recommend this program to anyone interested in the biotech or any field of science.  I would like to thank Dr. Rick Ulrich and Dr. Melanie Ulrich for their tireless efforts and for truly caring and investing in my life and the lives of the other interns.“ -Andrew Michael, BTC-102 Spring 2010 senior from Grace Academy


"I had the great privilege of working in the new InnovaBio Maryland lab at Hagerstown Community College as the first to go through a full year of the program. The overall experience and amount of skills and scientific confidence I have gained through my experience cannot be put to words and it will truly be an experience that I will remember through all of my upcoming educational days. Not only did I learn far beyond what I was looking for from a lab study but I also met and fellowshipped with some of the coolest science geeks I’ve ever known.

    "Every experience in life teaches you something new about yourself. Being in the InnovaBio-MD internship program proved that anybody can enjoy science and the various aspects of it, particularly Biotechnology. The projects and assignments are intriguing and when you get good results from your work you feel highly accomplished. It brings Biotechnology from behind a glass to right in front of your eyes, and that is the best gift a person can receive that is trying to pursue a career in this field." -Kenise Lewis, BTC-102 Spring 2010 senior from Washington County Technical High School

 Student Highlights

Nick Montoya, a high school student who worked in the InnovaBio-MD labs during the fall 2009 and spring 2010 semesters, was featured in an article in The Herald Mail.