Lab Central Luminesence CR5 6261

LabCentral Ignite is a first-and-only-of-its-kind platform that’s addressing systemic racial, gender and other underrepresentation in talent across the life-sciences and the biotech industry – from labs to leadership, and from the STEM student pipeline to the entrepreneurs advancing life-changing innovations.

In 2023, our LabCentral Ignite team was honored to contribute to expanding pathways to biotech across life-sciences talent, entrepreneurship, board participation, and startup venture capital in Boston and beyond.

In this pivotal year, we:

  • Deepened the impact of signature programs that upskill and help place early-career, lab-based professionals;
  • Expanded programs that support underrepresented biotech startup founders;
  • Elevated Ignite’s visibility in a growing life-sciences workforce-focused ecosystem via our bioDiversity Summit & Awards, social media programming, and public remarks that underscore our differentiated approach in the industry’s talent diversity and DEI space;

  • Shared the faces and stories of people in the industry who reflect our Black, Brown, and other underrepresented communities, cultivating the Life Sciences in Full Color campaign.
  • Increased our strategic network of industry sponsors, grant makers, and community partners, including Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s new Life Sciences Workforce Initiative.
  • Grew our MOSAIC Innovation Consortium of Minority-Serving Institutions, now with 20 schools that have greater access to the life-sciences industry.
In sponsorship & grant funding
Individuals impacted by Ignite programming 

Ignite Programs

Career Forge

Career Forge is a training program that prepares career-ready people (“Forgers”) for technical roles, while partnering with hiring teams in our network to connect underrepresented talent to meaningful career opportunities in biotech.


Career Forge poster presentation
Forgers trained
Forgers working in biotech jobs or furthering their education
Yakshitha Poonati Headshot 2

“Throughout my journey, I was constantly encouraged to think in a scientific manner. These invaluable lessons have not only shaped my professional growth during the program but have also laid a strong foundation for my future career. LabCentral provided an environment where learning, collaboration, and innovation thrived, and I couldn't be more grateful for the support and guidance I received."

Yakshitha Poonati
Career Forge Alumnus
23 0919 Bio Diversity Summit 2023 CR6 8953

Ignite Golden Tickets & Ignite Fellowship

The LabCentral Ignite Golden Ticket contest provides support to biotech entrepreneurs who identify as women, Black, Brown, Indigenous, or people of color by giving winners access to shared lab space in Cambridge. In addition, winners participate in a year-long Ignite Fellowship program that aims to supercharge their networks.

In 2023, we welcomed four Ignite Fellows—Cellens Inc., Guardian Bio, QurCan Therapeutics, and Spheric Bio—(2022 Ignite Golden Ticket Winners). We also hosted eight VIP lunches to enhance the fellows’ networks, facilitating interactions with 16 different industry professionals and experts.

$800k Raised by Ignite Fellows 8 Golden Tickets awarded to women founders and entrepreneurs of color
Golden Ticket Winners Logos 2

Congratulations Ignite Golden Ticket Winners

What the Heck is Biotech?

What the Heck is Biotech? is a community workshop series that aims to explain the biotech industry and introduce community members or students to the possible career pathways across varying levels of education.

26 Events hosted 540 Individuals served 244 Adults 296 High School students
Ignite WTHIB 2 8 23 Student Working With Maggie
Biodiversity Summit6 OR MOSAIC

MOSAIC Innovation Consortium

MOSAIC convenes Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), building connectivity between them and the biopharma industry in order to tap fully into the talents and perspectives of people of color and other historically excluded students and professionals.

17 Institutions at bioDiversity Summit including, 42 MOSAIC attendees 20 Institutions in MOSAIC 2 Consortium meetings hosted

Additional Ignite Programs

Ignite VC

Beth Headshot

IgniteVC is a membership-based platform offering tailored DEI tools for VC firms and portfolio companies to foster a more inclusive life-sciences venture capital community. Members gain access to resources from the Bioscience & Investor Inclusion Group (BIIG), leveraging industry experience to promote inclusive practices.

  • Launched partnership in April
  • Hired IgniteVC Director, Beth McKeon


Life Sciences in Full Color Campaign

LSIFC Impact Image

Life Sciences in Full Color is a multifaceted public education campaign across the Boston area meant to inspire, inform, and activate more diverse biotech talent.

  • 6,021,644 Social media ad impressions
  • 31k Microsite visits

Learning Lab

Learning Lab logos

The Learning Lab at LabCentral's 700 Main Street site, sponsored by New England Biolabs and operated by the Ignite team, aims to redefine educational experiences in Kendall Square's innovation hub. Collaborating with academic and community partners, it offers in-lab trainings and activities for students, educators, and community members, fostering innovation and learning.

  • 300 Individuals served in the Learning Lab
  • 8+ Organizations/institutions hosted including:
    • BioBuilder
    • Boston Private Industry Council
    • LabCentral Ignite Career Forger
    • Leah Knox Scholars
    • LEAS Lab
    • MassBioEd
    • New England Biolabs
    • UNCF Ernest E. Just Life Sciences Initiative


STAR Ecosystem

Star logo black 2

The STAR (Supporting Students in STEM, Transforming & Advancing Representation) STEM ecosystem unites high-performing nonprofits and two school districts, serving historically underrepresented students in grades 6-14. STAR facilitates collaboration among partner organizations, enabling program expansion and deeper impact. Ultimately, it aims to increase access to and success in STEM learning for young people in Cambridge and Somerville, MA, fostering a lasting passion for science and discovery. Check out the STAR Annual Report for more details.

  • 1268 Students supported
  • 600+ Educators supported since 2018
  • 5 Nonprofit organizations supported
Event Highlights

bioDiversity Summit & Awards

As part of our commitment to enhancing biotech diversity, we hosted our inaugural Ignite bioDiversity Summit & Awards, convening key stakeholders from MOSAIC Innovation Consortium, STEM nonprofits, HBCUs, Hispanic-serving institutions, founders, workforce training organizations, and VC partners. The event featured discussions on actionable DEI topics and solutions, including sessions on equitable internship programs and workforce diversity through impactful STEM education. We also held a Fireside Chat with Dr. Elenoe Crew Smith of Vertex, and concluded with our bioDiversity Awards dinner, recognizing individuals and organizations making strides in diversity in the life-sciences sector across five categories.


bioDiversity Summit

Bio Diversity Summit Collage 5
Biodiversity Awards4

bioDiversity Awards

  • Individual Impact – Mayolina Seguy
  • Nonprofit. Organization – Science Club for Girls
  • Educational Institution – Quincy College
  • Biotech Startup – Rubix LS
  • Biopharma Industry – Vertex Pharmaceuticals
215 Attendees 5 Awards Given
Bonnie Bertolaet Headshot

“Science Club for Girls is thrilled to receive this award! It is an honor to receive this recognition from LabCentral Ignite, an organization that is truly values-aligned in our work to diversify and transform the face of STEM.”

Bonnie Bertolaet
Executive Director at Science Club for Girls, bioDiversity Awards 23 Nonprofit Winner

Sponsorship & Development

With heartfelt gratitude to our sponsors, here is a breakdown of the $1.753M Sponsorship & Grant Funding:

$550k Ignite Golden Tickets (multiple sponsors) $718k From MLSC; $50K for Life Sciences in Full Color Campaign, $668K for Career Forge $200k City of Boston $235k ANONYMOUS Donation $50k for STAR from Pfizer
Biodiversity CR6 8370