HSC convenes experts to discuss future of life sciences workforce

Victoria FordVictoria Ford, president and CEO of the Texas Healthcare and Bioscience Institute in Austin, will be the featured keynote during the next event in HSC’s 2023 Health Care Workforce & Education Series on Aug. 10.

The public is invited to attend the free event co-hosted by the School of Biomedical Sciences at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, and HSC Next, the university’s research and innovation team. The evening will feature experts from the fields of life sciences, economic development and higher education discussing how to strengthen the dynamic life sciences workforce in Texas.

Shaping Tomorrow’s Innovators: Empowering the Life Sciences Workforce in Texas” is part of HSC’s Health Care Workforce & Education Series that explores opportunities and solutions to address workforce needs in health care and science.

“Growing the life sciences industry is critical for innovation and economic development in our region and Texas,” said Dr. Michael Mathis, dean of HSC’s School of Biomedical Sciences. “To ensure sustainable growth, higher education institutions in the DFW area must foster strategic partnerships with employers to prepare students with the necessary technical skills as well as instill a culture of lifelong learning and adaptability to keep up with the rapid pace of scientific advancements.”

“We are convening a group of experts from a variety of relevant fields to spark discussion and collaboration around this important topic. We hope this event will be of interest to everyone from entrepreneurs and leaders in government and higher education to current and future students in the life sciences.”

Ford will discuss “The Life Sciences Industry in DFW and Texas – Growth and Challenges.” In her role at the Texas Healthcare and Bioscience Institute, she works to position Texas as a global leader within the biotechnology and life sciences industries.

In addition to the keynote presentation, experts from DFW and Texas will discuss current education and workforce trends, opportunities and solutions:

Panel Discussion 1: “Bridging the Life Sciences Talent Gap”

  • Kelly Cloud, vice president of economic development, Life Science, Dallas Regional Chamber
  • Gabby Everett, PhD, director, business operations and strategy, Site Head, BioLabs Pegasus Park, Dallas
  • Aaron BenComo, MD, business development and industry liaison director, BioNTX (Bio North Texas), Irving
  • Nitin Joshi, PhD, chief executive officer, CAGE Bio, San Carlos, Calif.

Moderator: Cameron Cushman, assistant vice president of Innovation Ecosystems, HSC Next

Panel Discussion 2: “Educating for an Evolving Life Sciences Landscape”

  • Jenny Ligon, senior associate director, National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, College Station
  • Benjamin Magill, CecD, associate vice chancellor, Economic Opportunity, Dallas College
  • Busola Okunnu, PhD, HSC alumnus, Clinical Research Associate, ICON Strategic Solutions
  • Carole Twichell, MS, Professor, Biotechnology Program, Collin College

Moderator: Bruce Bunnell, PhD, professor and chair, HSC Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics

A reception and networking will begin at 5 p.m. with the keynote address and panels starting at 5:45 p.m. The event will be held on campus in HSC’s Medical Education & Training Building, 1000 Montgomery St., with a live stream option for those unable to attend in person.

Attendees should register to attend in-person or virtually.

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