CERES Lab Offers Industry Researchers Opportunity to Accelerate Development of Innovative Health Treatments
Kenneth Dwyer, a sales and marketing professional with extensive experience in the life sciences industry, has joined WPI as laboratory manager of the university’s Cell Engineering Research Equipment Suite (CERES) at Gateway Park.
Dwyer will work to expand use of the lab by industry clients while also maintaining and managing the lab’s equipment, which was acquired with an $844,314 grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center’s (MLSC) Open Capital fund. About 107,000 people work in the biopharma sector in Massachusetts, and much of the work focuses on early-stage drug treatments. A key goal of CERES is to support that early-stage work.
“WPI is grateful to the MLSC for supporting the development of CERES, a place where researchers can pursue innovative medical treatments for human disease,” says Bogdan Vernescu, vice provost for research at WPI. “The university is committed to supporting industry partners so that the biomedical community can grow and continue to thrive in the greater Worcester region.”
A fee-for-service facility, CERES is located on Grove Street in Worcester, next to the WPI Biomanufacturing Education and Training Center, which offers training programs for engineers and other industry professionals. CERES provides WPI and outside researchers with instruments that are used in the quantitative analysis of engineered cells.
The lab is outfitted with eight high-end machines that handle tasks such as automating the preparation of plates of samples, imaging cells, analyzing gene expression in a sample, and analyzing the characteristics of cells. The lab also offers incubators for sample storage and a chemical hood.
“CERES is filled with state-of-the-art equipment that can help industry researchers accelerate development of innovative biotechnology, including new health treatments, right here in Central Massachusetts,” says Eric Young, assistant professor in the WPI Department of Chemical Engineering. “Ken will use his insight and experience to advance WPI’s goal of collaborating with industry partners to help demonstrate their technologies, ultimately supporting the growth of life sciences jobs and startup companies.”
Dwyer previously worked in marketing roles for Cytiva, Thermofisher Scientific, Lonza, and other life sciences companies. He received his PhD in chemistry from the University of Massachusetts.
“Not all entrepreneurs and startup companies can afford to invest in a full suite of instruments while building up their technologies,” Dwyer says. “CERES offers those entrepreneurs and startups a convenient, cost-effective solution. We have the highly specialized equipment that they can use to move their cell-based products forward.”