MDI Biological Laboratory
MDI Science Café

Building Maine’s Life Sciences Workforce

  • February 13, 2023
  • 5:00 - 6:00 pm
  • Online

Maine’s life sciences sector grew faster than anywhere else in New England during the pandemic years, and nonprofit education and research labs such as MDIBL and the Roux institute are expanding quickly.

But can the sector support this momentum once demand subsides for some Covid-related testing and services that created hundreds of temporary jobs? We’ll talk with researchers, educators and commercial leaders about how Maine can sustain and expand its bioscience economy.     

Aileen Huang-Saad, Ph.D., M.B.A is associate professor of bioengineering and director of life sciences and engineering at Northeastern University’s Roux Institute (Portland, Maine). Huang-Saad leads the educational programs within the College of Science, College of Engineering, and the Bouvè College of Health Sciences at the Roux Institute. Huang-Saad has a fourteen-year history of bringing about organizational change in higher education, leveraging evidence-based practices at University of Michigan. Prior to entering higher education, Huang-Saad worked in industry, gaining experience in new venture biotech, the defense industry, and medical device testing. In 2022, she was appointed to the Maine State Governor’s Workforce Board. Huang-Saad has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, a Doctor of Philosophy from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a Master of Business Administration from University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

James A. Coffman, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at MDIBL and Director of the Maine Idea Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) a NIH-funded statewide collaborative network of 13 academic and research institutions, led by the MDI Biological Laboratory. The overarching goal of the Maine INBRE is to strengthen biomedical research and research infrastructure in the state of Maine, by providing biomedical research resources, funding, and training to undergraduates, post-graduates, and faculty.  His research at MDIBL focuses on how the environment in which you were raised effects your health, your susceptibility to disease and your rate of aging. Dr. Coffman received his doctorate in zoology at Duke University and joined MDIBL in 2005.

Billie Cary is the Education Programs Manager at BioME (Bioscience Association of Maine). Billie has a B.A. in English Literature from Bates College and an M.A. in Library and Information Studies. Prior to joining BioME, she worked creating educational programming to facilitate Maine economic development and international logistics. She is excited to work with schools and Maine scientists of all ages to promote life science education in the state.