Franklin College students in the BIO/CHE 392 learn about methodology for protein characterization at B2S Life Sciences on April 24. Submitted by B2S Life Sciences

Some Franklin College biology and chemistry students spent six weeks at a local business getting hands-on lab experience and lectures from those working in their prospective fields.

B2S Life Sciences, a biotherapeutics company, partners with Franklin College for student internships, job opportunities and more. The BIO/CHE 392 class is just one of many things that have come from the partnership, said Melissa Johnson, business coordinator at Franklin-based B2S.

While B2S has partnered with Franklin College through an internship program, this is the first time they have partnered together for a class like this, Johnson said.

Students spent about four to six hours on Wednesdays for six weeks learning field training, seeing equipment demonstrations and gaining hands-on experience. The class gave students an inside look into the industry and prepared them for jobs after graduation, she said.

Students worked on a project throughout the six weeks, then they wrote a paper on it. They received an extract of egg yolk that had been immunized with human IgG, an antibody and tasked with purifying the antibody from the egg yolk, said Ronald Bowsher, partner and chief scientific officer with B2S. The class allows them to “see real relevance to what they’re doing,” he said.

“If we’re able to contribute to the professional development of students who can work in this life science ecosystem in Central Indiana, we’ve done something very good,” Bowsher said.

B2S has hired “a number” of Franklin College graduates through their partnership, including one of the lead instructors of the course, Elijah Parmer.

The laboratory equipment that students can utilize at B2S is a “huge bonus” because they can observe and use instruments the college doesn’t have, Parmer said. He would have capitalized on the opportunity if available when he was a undergraduate student, he said.

Franklin College students in BIO/CHE 392 on their last day of class May 1. Jayden Kennett | Daily Journal

The class also helps students narrow down their career path, discovering what they like or don’t like about the field, Bowsher said.

Students spent part of the semester learning about molecular biology at the college and spent the last six weeks of the semester at B2S.

Teaching the class has had both its rewards and challenges because it is the first time they have done something like this, said Adam Kinne, one of the lead instructors. Students have many different perspectives and come from different majors.

They quickly learned the expectations and how to “bridge the gap” between majors and theoretical and applied research, he said.

Senior Dillin Collins remembers talking about DNA in high school and throughout his college career, but this is the first time he’s been able to apply his knowledge from lectures into practice, he said. For that, he thinks the course is important for students like himself. Working with people in the field also took pressure off of Collins because he learned expectations from those working in it, he said.

“No one in my family is a scientist so I have this vocabulary that I never get to use that people just don’t know about,” Collins said. “Then these guys are just like in this corner, next to the park, by the place I grew up. It was really cool knowing that they’re here.”

One of the things sophomore Jetta Norris enjoyed about the class was collecting bugs on campus and sending them off to the lab to identify them by RNA, she said. The course gave her a chance to use more critical thinking skills and more time to delve deep into the work, she said. The class was a fun challenge, she said.

“I sit through lecture and I’m like ‘Why do I like this?’ Then I get in lab and I do it and I go ‘Oh, this is why I like this,’” Norris said. “It was nice to see it in a different environment instead of the same three labs.”