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Mount Marty to Lead Biotech Growth, Launches First Masters Program in the Dakotas

Earlier this year, Mount Marty University in Yankton, South Dakota announced it will lead Biotech Growth in the Dakota as it launches Master Program.

Original article (July 11, 2023) 

Mount Marty University (MMU) will launch the first Master of Science in Biotechnology program in the Dakotas, a region top-ranked for industry growth. The one-year, 30-credit program will welcome its first cohort of 30 students this fall, focusing on biotech management in pharmaceuticals and generating future industry leaders.

“We’re thrilled about the opportunity to make a footprint in this industry,” said MMU President Dr. Marc Long. “We understand that leaders come from anywhere and look forward to nurturing and growing anyone interested in becoming a leader in the biotechnology industry.”

With the option to enroll online or in person at MMU-Sioux Falls, the program has drawn a competitive mix of recent undergraduates and mid-level pharmaceutical executives nationwide.

Students from science and business backgrounds with varying levels of degrees may apply and will benefit from the experience of industry veterans while preparing to take their place as the next generation of biotech leaders.

“This gives us an opportunity to have very real conversations among differing opinions in the industry, and I think that’s important for all our students,” says Dr. Mark Brown, who was initially contracted to develop the program and now serves as its Executive Director.

Dr. Brown has nearly 20 years of experience in organizational management, drug development, and biomanufacturing. He has served in a range of executive roles and on teams that produced the world’s first Ebola therapeutic and the vaccines pivotal in fighting the H1N1 and COVID-19 pandemics.

As the pharmaceutics industry continues to grow and change in the United States, tapping into the current industry and its network will be vital to the future of healthcare and national security. The program is unique in that it is the only biotechnology degree taught entirely by industry professionals, whose experience ranges from Pfizer to the FDA and the Department of Defense.

“Mount Marty University’s investment in an MS in Biotechnology degree is a strong statement of the growing biotech industry in South Dakota. We are excited about the opportunity this provides students from across the state and the nation to learn and train in this exciting field,” said Executive Director of South Dakota Biotech, Joni Ekstrum.

While being Catholic is not a requirement for any MMU student, Dr. Brown looks forward to the program being taught in a way that “makes sure we’re doing everything for the right reasons.”

“Having it at a Catholic Benedictine institution that prides itself in an ethical approach to everything that they do and respects those fundamental human values and service to our community is the type of foundation we need to ensure that we have a properly grounded program,” said Dr. Brown.

MMU’s biotech program is just one of a growing suite of graduate-level health science programs focused on benefiting human life, providing access to life-saving healthcare, and curbing global health disparities. Earlier this month, SDAHO posted a story on Mount Marty’s program to expand access to rural diabetes care with an Endocrinology Program. 

For more information on MMU’s current MSN programs, visit www.mountmarty.edu.


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