This is the last post in our welcome series introducing you to the ACC Bioscience Incubator. Thanks for sticking along for the ride!
Today, I thought we’d mix things up and have a conversation between myself and Shane, our Lab Coordinator.
Shane handles the day-to-day operations at the Incubator, and our internship program, in addition to supporting me in my director role. Like me, Shane is a scientist.
We’re going to do some Q&A today between Shane and I. The idea is to give you a little sneak peek into running the lab. Here we go!
Shane: You’ve seen many biotech startups come through ABI, what are some of the cool ideas you’ve heard recently?
Nancy: We just accepted a company into the Incubator that is using food and environmental waste as a starting material for vegan leather. One of the designers downstairs in the Fashion Incubator can’t wait for this company to move here from California and start working, so that they can start prototyping designs with their ‘leather’. There are so many things that can be broken down by microbes and used for something completely new. We even talked to people about using mushrooms for degrading hazardous waste.
Nancy: What does a typical day at the lab look like for you?
Shane: While there is no ‘typical’ day, there are some common things that we stay on top of. The most important thing to us in providing a quality lab space for our member companies is ensuring that the scientists can work in a safe environment where the equipment and instrumentation are working optimally. We do daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly maintenance on most everything in the facility.
I generally have the student interns do these things, so I spend a lot of time with them in the lab, showing them how things work and how to keep them working. Then, there’s always a fire or two to put out (not literally!)
We also get to show the space off to people pretty regularly and getting to hear all the nice things they say about ACC and the Bioscience Incubator make it a great place to work.
Shane: What are you excited about for the incubator over the next 2 to 3 years?
Nancy: Well, I have been saying to whoever will listen, that we need more lab space in town in order to provide ongoing support to the startup community. I think there’s finally some momentum for building labs. I’ve been contacted by quite a few real estate developers who are asking good questions. I’ve also spoken with people at the Austin Chamber of Commerce about what Austin needs in order to recruit some established biotech companies to town. I think if those labs get built, and those companies subsequently get recruited, we’re going to have a huge demand for the types of jobs that our Biotech program here at ACC is training for. It could be a great boon for Austin!
Shane: Is there a new company at ABI that you want to shout out right now?
We hear a lot about sequencing DNA, but if we could sequence the proteins, it would open doors to so many impactful things. Personalized medicine, for example. We would be able to compare your cancer cell to someone else’s cancer cell and optimize for what will work best for their treatment.
Shane: What’s something fun you’ve done lately, or discovered, around the ACC campus?
Nancy: I finally made it down to the farm stand on campus that the Ag department sets up every week for us. I got some great produce…while I was at work!! How about you?
Shane: I walk around the campus during lunch and love the park spaces that are growing up around the Highland Campus, it’s awesome to see what Highland is becoming.
I hope this welcome series has given you a clear picture of what we do, and why, at ABI.
And if you’re with a biotech startup and you’d like to apply to join our incubator and lease lab space, you can do that right here.
From here on out, expect to hear from us monthly, give or take!
Thanks for following along, and if you have questions just visit our Contact page.
ACC Bioscience Incubator Director