Vermont Biosciences Alliance Fall Newsletter
Fall Newsletter
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VBSA was created to foster recognition of medicine and bioscience as a leading industry in the Vermont region and promote economic and human well-being by strengthening sector attention, research resources, and venture growth. To the businesses and organizations who are currently members, thank you for supporting the bioscience industry in Vermont.
VtTA Venture Summit Virtual Connect

Meet, interact, and network online with more than 1,300 VCs, angel investors, industry execs, and founders of venture backed, emerging, and early-stage companies on November 17-19.

Check here for details and to register: Venture Summit Virtual Connect
Vermont Chamber of Commerce Virtual Policy Series

This event series will explore federal and state actions impacting our business community, economic relief, and other topics. Each event will feature a 25-minute presentation by our guest speakers followed by 35 minutes of Q&A. All events are held Monday afternoons for three months starting on Oct 26.

Look here for individual event agendas and to register: Virtual Policy Series
Industry News
Startup Collective Builds Virtual Community for Entrepreneurs

The Vermont Startup Collective is a new social media platform offering entrepreneurs a virtual space for building community, advancing business ideas, and connecting with other startups, remote workers, small business owners, freelancers, investors, and mentors. Born from requests for more connection during COVID-19, the mobile/desktop platform surrounds active and aspiring entrepreneurs with constructive guidance, thought-provoking conversations, and critical resources. The VBSA is an early member to the community; sign in and send us a message!

Haematologic Technologies Adds a High Resolution Mass Spectrometry Lab

Haematologic Technologies announced the addition of a High Resolution Mass Spectrometry lab this month, expanding their already strong offerings in the field of large molecule bioanalysis. The new lab will be headed by Kevin Van Cott, PhD, a global expert in the use of High Resolution Mass Spectrometry for Host Cell Proteins and biotherapeutics characterization.

Education News
UVM Receives $19.4 Million NIH Grant to Promote Biomedical Research and Education in Vermont

This five-year award will promote biomedical research expertise at Vermont’s four-year colleges and attract Vermont students to careers in the biomedical sciences by allowing faculty to apply for research seed grants through UVM and funding paid student research internships. “Strengthening biomedical research and education at the college level throughout Vermont and helping grow the state’s STEM workforce are very much part of UVM’s 21st century land-grant mission,” said Suresh Garimella, UVM president.

ACPHS Expands Bioengineering Talent for Center for Biopharmaceutical Education and Training and New Professional Science Master’s Program

ACPHS is offering a new Master’s in Biomanufacturing and Bioprocessing as a one-year program with a strong emphasis on industrial applications. The degree is designed for undergraduates, graduates, and working professionals interested in a career in the biopharmaceutical industry. “We have a strong reputation as a pharmacy school, but we also have expertise in drug discovery and development, the biology of human disease, and the science of drug action,” said ACPHS President Greg Dewey.

Connect with VBSA

If you are interested in bioscience entrepreneurship in Vermont, join the VBSA! Expand your professional network and keep current on news and opportunities in bioscience right here in Vermont. Joining the VBSA sends a message of support for Vermont bioscience companies and organizations. Click here for more on the benefits of joining the VBSA and to sign up.
Call for News and Events

If your business has announcements, milestones, or projects they would like to share with the VBSA community, please get in touch with us! You can email your news and information to Rachel Sargent Mirus at

The VBSA is always interested in hosting new events! You can suggest seminar ideas to Rachel Sargent Mirus at
BYOBio & Tech Beer: Max's High Mag Movie Hour
For October 2020’s BYOBio & Tech Beer, VBSA and VtTA members needed popcorn to go with the titular beer for Max Ranall’s virtual presentation of ‘Quantitative Imaging in the Life Sciences - Max’s High Mag Movie Hour’.

Ranall is a BioTek Field Application Scientist based in the Bay Area. He assists scientists in collecting imaging data using BioTek equipment and has compiled his own collection of visually stunning research movies. For BYOBio & Tech beer he shared a few of his favorites.

First, Ranall explained that he usually uses transmitted light microscopy or inverted fluorescence microscopy, with a quick diagram showing the inner workings of the Lionheart FX system. Ranall showed both types of microscopy movies over the course of the evening.

From there he jumped into the movie screening, starting with a brightfield time lapse of a wound healing model. In this model, cells of an immortal lung epithelial line were cultured on plastic petri dishes with removable barriers. Once the cells had adhered and proliferated, the barriers were removed, leaving narrow gaps – the “wounds”. The movie tracked the movement of cells on either side of the gaps as they extended pseudopodia and scooted into the open space, closing the wounds. This wound healing model combined with BioTek’s imaging capabilities allows researchers to quantify the speed and movement strategy of cells closing wounds under different conditions, such as after the introduction of a new drug.

Ranall moved on to a clip of cultured RPE cells tagged with red mCherry fluorescent protein that was fused to Histone 2B to reveal their nuclei and illuminate their chromosome dynamics. The cells were imaged every five minutes for four hours. The video showed constellations of bright red ovoids jiggling through black space, demonstrating just how mobile these cells can be.

Next Ranall pulled up another brightfield time lapse, this time showing an Aspergillus spore infection model during germination. Aspergillus are mold fungi that commonly grow on the surfaces of their substrates and often spread through spores. The video began with a field of small, transparent sphere-shaped spores that quickly grew long, transparent thread-like hyphae running every which way, even out of the plane of focus.

The movie screening was followed by a lively conversation about the different challenges associated with microscopy imaging. Ranall’s movies of fluorescent-tagged cells showed samples being imaged over extended periods of time, so viewers wondered if fluorophore bleaching was a concern. He explained that the BioTek software allowed operators to automatically compensate through a couple different strategies, from turning down the power to the excitatory LED to turning up the gain on the camera.

The conversation ended with a discussion on how rates of colorblindness affect the presentation of imaging data. Bright reds and greens have commonly been used in microscopy for achieving high-contrast labeled images, but with 11% of men experiencing some red-green colorblindness, some researchers have argued that these aren’t the best colors to use when communicating science to the general public.

Keep an eye out for more bioscience talks led by the VBSA! Future dates and details will be posted on our events page.