First TAMU Bench to Shop Experiential Training Course Travels to U.S., Africa
Posted August 02, 2017
"Bench to Shop" trainees and trainers outside of the
Agricultural Research Council-Onderstepoort Veterinary Research
Transboundary Animal Diseases Facilities in Onderstepoort, South
A team of Texas A&M University faculty and staff accompanied
eight next-generation trainees through the U.S. and Africa in June
and July for an innovative international training course that is
part of the Scientific Business Development & Management
Program’s “Bench to Shop” program.
The experiential training course embarked at the Texas A&M
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM)
before travelling to three institutions, at the University of Texas
Medical Branch-Galveston, Colorado State University, and the
Agricultural Research Council-Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute in
Eight early career faculty, postdoctoral, and graduate student
trainees, who shared the common academic interest in livestock
transboundary animal diseases (TAD), originated from Texas A&M,
Texas A&M Health Science Center, the University of Georgia,
Kansas State University, Plum Island Animal Disease Center (New
York), the University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston, North
Carolina State University, and the University of Pretoria (South
The “Bench to Shop” program is expected to cultivate a new
generation of scientists to further contribute to the DHS science
and technology mission through innovation and research that
contributes to the defense of U.S. agriculture.
The hands-on training across different institutions in the U.S.
and Africa was invaluable for the trainees, offering exposure
to different teaching methods that addressed livestock
transboundary animal disease problems, the opportunity to learn
different methodologies for handling TAD, exposure to international
work, interacting with vaccine manufacturers, and the different
practices for biocontainment training which varied between
Trainees and trainers inside the Agricultural Research
Council-Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Transboundary Animal
Diseases Biocontainment Facilities in Onderstepoort, South
“The knowledge, relationships, and experiences I have gained
through the ‘Bench to Shop’ training program are vital tools I can
utilize in my pursuit of a career in transboundary disease
research,” one trainee said. “Through the online curriculum, I
gained an understanding and appreciation for the commercialization
pathway, and the experiential portion of the training not only
solidified my goals of pursuing a future in this type of research,
but also allowed me to experience working in high-containment
research laboratories for the first time.
“This unique training program connected me with lifelong mentors
and invaluable future collaborators, while illuminating multiple
career paths that I would not have been exposed to in my current
formal education, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have had this
The program also included 17 partner academic, industry, and
government partners, with the goal of developing an innovative
multi-modality, interdisciplinary training course.
“Bench to Shop” refers to taking discoveries from the bench (or
laboratory) to the shop (or marketplace) through technology
transition and commercialization. Trainees earn a training
certificate in scientific business development and management.
In 2015, the CVM and the Institute for Infectious Animal
Diseases (IIAD) were awarded a three-year funding contract to
create a nationwide training program to help animal researchers
learn to transition research discoveries, such as vaccines or
diagnostics, to the marketplace.
The funding was awarded from the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security Science (DHS) and the Technology Directorate, the DHS
research and development arm of the department.
The training is intended to support the federal government’s
transition from the Plum Island Disease Center to the National Bio-
and Agro-Defense Facility.
Selection of a second cohort of trainees to participate in 2018
is currently underway. For more information, visit http://vetmed.tamu.edu/benchtoshop.
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