Husband, wife team to lead biopharmaceutical program

A couple that teaches biological sciences at Delaware State University has been awarded a $750,739 grant to create an institute for studying biopharmaceuticals. The grant will pay for biopharmaceutical technology and equipment and cover the cost of faculty professional development and curriculum design.

The institute has a mandate to engage K-12 youths to increase their likelihood of entering into STEM careers.

LaTia Scott, an associate professor of biological sciences and Derrick Scott, assistant professor of biological sciences, are co-principal investigators. The funding will allow the couple to continue with the development of the Biopharmaceutical Workforce Outreach, Research, Diversity and Education Institute. Derrick Scott said the plan is to establish Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing and Technology as a concentration under the Biological Sciences major.

“The overall goal is to prepare the next generation of diverse and knowledgeable biopharmaceutical workers through curriculum and hands-on resources,” he said.

Delaware State University will be one of only two HBCUs with a comprehensive program that prepares students to enter the biopharmaceutical workforce.

“In attending research conferences in the biopharmaceutical space, we saw very few people of color,” he said.

LaTia Scott, a native of Fort Washington, Maryland, said they saw that as an opportunity.

“We were invited to a NIIMBL conference in 2019 and pitched the idea there,” she said. “Merck was interested.”

Merck & Co. is a U.S.-based multinational pharmaceutical company. Along with Jim DeKloe at Solano Community College in California and Margaret Bryans at Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania, the company is partnering with the university to establish the WORDE Institute.