For Dr. Chandra Emani, a biology professor and researcher at Western Kentucky University-Owensboro, it doesn’t get much better than seeing former students advance into key roles within Greater Owensboro’s fast-growing biotech and life sciences sector.
One recent graduate who collaborated with Emani on a plant-based cancer project is now a research technician pursuing a Ph.D. Another accepted a position in food toxicology research. Three others joined local industry leader Kentucky BioProcessing Inc. as part of a team developing vaccines to combat the Ebola virus.
“We have so many exciting developments, and the students are right in the middle of them,” says Emani, who operates a laboratory within the Centre for Business & Research, a business accelerator and research facility that offers lab, equipment and office space for startups. Companies that have worked with the center include Hollison Technologies, which is developing crucial food-testing tools, and Intrucept Biomedicine, which is working with the University of Louisville to develop a protein-infused gel from crushed tobacco leaves for blocking HIV transmission.