College Receives $200K NSF Grant to Boost Biotech Program

Posted on: 6/2/2017


SYLMAR, CA – Los Angeles Mission College announced today that it has received a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help expand its biotechnology program.

The three-year award will be instrumental in helping the college increase the number of students pursuing careers in the biotech industry, according to Dr. Par Mohammadian, director of the college’s biotechnology program.

“We currently offer a lab assistant certificate of achievement to help our students gain access to entry-level work,” Dr. Mohammadian said. “We also offer the associate degree in science so they can continue growing in the field while they work.”

“This new funding will help us address skill development, offer counseling, tutoring, industry field trips, host guest speakers, and create internship opportunities.”

Dr. Mohammadian said laboratory assistants work in entry level positions in many types of industrial and academic laboratories. Typically, these jobs involve activities such as washing and maintaining glassware, preparing media and solution, and maintaining laboratory safety.

Biotech industries, while diverse, share a common link in their application of biological scientific knowledge. 

“Biotechnology harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop technologies and products that combat debilitating and rare diseases, reduce environmental footprint, and help feed the hungry,” Dr. Mohammadian said.

Biotechnology represents five industry sub-sectors: Agricultural Feedstock and Chemicals; Drugs and Pharmaceuticals; Medical Devices and Equipment; Research Testing and Medical Laboratories; and Bioscience-related Distribution.

According to a 2014 report by the Centers of Excellence, California has the largest life sciences and biotechnology employment base in the U.S., with more than 235,000 jobs, spanning more than 8,000 individual business establishments. 
California’s largest biotechnology subsector — Research Testing and Medical Labs —increased employment by 19 percent between 2007 and 2012 and maintained strong job growth during the recession.

Local companies in biotech industries include Pharmavite; Medtronic; Advanced Cosmetic Research Lab; Baxter; Amgen; Grifols; and Olive View Hospital.

The California Community Colleges Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy (DWM) program has charged community colleges with having the right number of programs in the right locations. 

“We want to make sure we are producing the right number of graduates with the right skills to meet the needs of employers in priority and emergent sectors,” said L.A. Mission College President Monte Perez, PhD.

For more information about L.A. Mission College’s biotech program, contact Alejandro Guzman, 818.833.3431.


Los Angeles Mission College is committed to the success of our students. The College provides accessible, affordable, high-quality learning opportunities in a culturally and intellectually supportive environment. Learn more at 

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