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LabCentral Kicks Off “What the Heck is Biotech?” Workshops for Underrepresented Communities in Massachusetts

November 15, 2022

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Event series will raise awareness of the field and possible careers; first event to be held at Dearborn STEM Academy in Roxbury, Mass.

Cambridge, Mass. – November 15, 2022 LabCentral Ignite, in partnership with MassBioEd, today announced a series of “What the Heck is Biotech?” workshops aimed at raising awareness of the life sciences field and potential career pathways within underrepresented communities in the Massachusetts region. LabCentral Ignite will host the first workshop tonight at the Dearborn STEM Academy in Roxbury, Mass.

“The latest MassBio data shows that only 15% of the state’s life sciences workforce is Black, Latino or Native American, even though these groups make up 32% of our state’s population,” said Gretchen Cook-Anderson, executive director of LabCentral Ignite. “Our goal is to change this paradigm from within, breaking down barriers to entry in the field and building a sustainable life sciences workforce that is more expansive, inclusive and diverse.”

What: What the Heck is Biotech? inaugural workshop

During the workshop, participants will have the chance to learn about biotech, hear about some of the cutting-edge science companies are working on right now, experience life as a scientist for an hour and discover what potential career opportunities exist for them. The event is open to local high school students interested in STEM, young adults looking to enter the biotech industry or adults hoping to make a career change into the field.

Where: Dearborn STEM Academy, 36 Winthrop St., Boston, Mass.

When: November 15, 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Who: Speakers will include:

Mike Firestone, chief of policy & strategic planning, City of Boston, Mayor Wu's Office

·      Julia Mejia, Boston city councilor-at large

·      Darlene Adele Marcano, principal of Dearborn STEM Academy

·      Michelle Mischke, vice president of biotechnology education programs, MassBioEd

·      Chandra Williams, site lead, comparative medicine, Pfizer

To register, visit:

About LabCentral Ignite

The growing Ignite platform is dedicated to developing equity, inclusion, and opportunity within the life sciences field. Through a range of equity-driven programs and a growing member network of industry, startups, higher education, and nonprofits, Ignite connects underrepresented students, talent and innovators to academic, technical skills-building, mentoring, job placement, and board and leadership preparation opportunities that fuel biotech diversity and inclusively transform careers. More information is available at

About LabCentral

A private, non-profit institution, LabCentral was founded in 2013 as a launchpad for high potential life-sciences and biotech startups. Operating a total of 225,000 square-feet in the heart of Kendall Square in Cambridge, Mass., LabCentral offers fully permitted laboratory and office space for as many as 100 startups comprising approximately 1,000 scientists and entrepreneurs. More information is available at